About Us

We are a national charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians living with mental illness and their families and caregivers, by advancing outcomes-based mental health research.

Who We Are

Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) is dedicated to improving the lives of the 1 in 5 Canadians – over 7 million men, women and children – living with mental illness, as well as their families, friends, caregivers and communities. We do this by advancing evidence-based mental health research that is problem-solving, cost-effective and usable in the real world. Our staff and our Board of Directors bring a wealth of experience, including management of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, to guide our work. Most especially, we are guided by the needs of our diverse stakeholders, leading with people with lived experience.

What We Do

We advance mental health research
that generates evidence-based outcomes.

We are committed to sharing knowledge and collaborating with stakeholders and partners to support innovative research and evidence-based solutions that will improve the lives of Canadians. We are able to do this by putting people with lived experience at the heart of our research process. Over a 10-year period, Mental Health Research Canada and its predecessor organization (Ontario Mental Health Foundation) provided $34 million in funding to 332 research projects.



We manage the research process
for our funding partners and stakeholders.

We partner with individuals and organizations that have the funds to investigate a mental health issue, but not the expertise. We manage the entire research process – from helping to shape the research question and consequently the research proposal, to setting up a panel of experts to peer-review all submissions, to administering the funds to selected investigators.

Our Team

Akela Peoples, M.Ed.

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Cooper

Director of Development & Government Relations

Barbara Kelly

Director of Communications

Sarah Murphy, M.Sc.

Research & Executive Coordinator

Salma Ahmad, M.Sc.

Research Associate

Roxane Bouchard

Translation Support

Our Researchers

Discover the work of our 10 researchers under "Research in Progress" in OUR RESEARCH menu.

Our Board of Directors

JOHN TRAINOR, Board Chair & Chair, Nominations & Governance Committee

Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

KEN ROSS, Secretary & Chair, HR & Organizational Culture Committee

Retired Assistant Deputy Minister, Government of New Brunswick


Assistant Professor, Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Health Equity & Social Justice, St. Francis Xavier University


Chief Executive Officer, Stella's Circle


Director, Legal Counsel, Wal-Mart Canada Corp.


Professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program, Western University


Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, University of Alberta


Vice President, Strategy and Initiatives, Graham Boeckh Foundation


Associate Partner, Cognitive Process Transformation, Healthcare & Higher Education; and Global #HERE4U Mental Wellness Offering Manager, IBM Canada


Network Director of Mental Health & Substance Use, Interior Health Authority


Director, People & Culture, ATB Financial


Professor and Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Queen's University


Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan

Our Standing Committees


Executive Committee

Audit & Risk Committee

HR & Organizational Culture Committee

Nominations & Governance Committee

Our Financial Statement


For information on the financial position of Mental Health Research Canada as at March 31, 2019,
see the Independent Auditor’s Report.

Our History

MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH CANADA opened its doors on April 1, 2018, building on the Ontario Mental Health Foundation’s 55-year legacy.

2018: The OMHF closesd its doors on March 31, 2018.

2015: Collaborated with five Canadian mental health research funders to fund the first Canada-wide project on valid, reliable performance indicators for Canadian mental health services – critical for improving the performance of mental health care systems. Rand Europe identified the OMHF as the sixth most productive funder of mental health research in Canada and in the top 100 worldwide.

2014: Became a member of the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders.

2013: Dr. Jeff Daskalakis, a long-time OMHF-funded researcher, received the Dr. Samarthji Lal award from the Graham Boeckh Foundation. The award honours a Canadian researcher in the area of psychiatry, with a focus on major mental disorders, who is mid-career and making an outstanding contribution to the field.

2012: Dr. Heather Stuart, a past OMHF funded researcher and current OMHF board member, became the world’s first Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair.

2005: Founding partner and oversaw a multi-year research project, System Enhancement Evaluation Initiative (SEEI), to evaluate the outcome of increased funding for community mental health programs.

2004: Supported (with Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) a multi-year project to address the issue of women and depression.

2001: Developed a Special Initiatives Program that supported large-scale projects to generate discoveries in therapies for psychotic illnesses. Funded three multi-year projects solely: Epigenetics of Schizophrenia, Dr. Arturas Petronis; Decoding Schizophrenia, Dr. Sajit Kapur; and Early Intervention in Schizophrenia, Dr. Jean Addington.

Click here for further History

1997: Partnered in and oversaw a five-year, multi-site project, Community Mental Health Evaluation Initiative, to evaluate aspects of Ontario’s community mental health system – the most significant body of research on community mental health carried out in Ontario.

1990: Planned, managed and funded the first Ontario Mental Health Survey. Also created and funded special grant competition for applications to analyze the survey’s results.

1981: Set up Peer Review Committees for grants and fellowships, to review applications for scientific merit and relevance.

1976: Received $600,000 in funding from the Ontario Lottery.

1975: Sponsored scientific cluster meetings in abnormal child development, affective disorders, schizophrenia, and evaluation of the mental health care delivery system.

1973: Commissioned a feasibility study of promising areas of mental health research.

1972: Funded and published an Annual Register of Mental Health Research to highlight the work being done in Ontario and underresearched areas.

1968: Provided funding support to mental health scientists fleeing Czechoslovakia.

1966: Established the Travelling Fellowship program.

1964: Established the Research Associateship (Senior Fellowship) and Educational Associateship (Research Training Fellowship) programs.

1963: Created a separate corporation to operate a psychiatric institution – the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in honour of Dr. C.K. Clarke. Awards granted for first time: $328,000 ($2.4 million in 2015) for 33 researchers.

1962: A Special Act of the Ontario Legislature establishes the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, led by Justice Arthur Kelly, who made a sizable donation to the OMHF.

Are you in crisis?

Please call 1-833-456-4566,
text 45645, or visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca

Interested in fundraising?

If you or your organization would like to raise funds on behalf of MHRC, please contact us at the start of your initiative!

Connect with us

40 Eglinton Avenue East, #806
Toronto, ON  M4P 3A2