$5 million donation helps CAMH reach more vulnerable youth

    First inpatient centre in Canada for youth with co-occurring addiction
    and mental illness

    TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - Vulnerable youth facing mental illness and
addiction -- whose needs now go unmet -- will soon benefit from expanded
services in new facilities, thanks to the support of a generous donation of $5
million from the estates of Ken Thomson and his sister Audrey Campbell. The
donation will enable the expansion of CAMH's existing services through the
creation of a new inpatient centre which will be part of CAMH's pioneering
redevelopment project.
    "When one of the most respected families in Canada lends their support in
this way, it validates the struggles of those who face these stigmatized
illnesses. We are profoundly grateful," said Dr. Paul Garfinkel, President &
CEO, CAMH. "The vast majority of mental illnesses - 80 per cent by some
estimates - have their roots in childhood and adolescence. Thanks to this
exceptional family, we will be able offer more young people better care: care
that will change the course of a young person's life and, potentially, prevent
a lifetime of suffering."
    The new centre will include a 9,000 square-foot unit for youth
experiencing serious addiction and concurrent disorders (addiction and mental
illness occurring simultaneously). The first of its kind in Canada, the centre
will house 12 inpatient beds and provide services to complement and expand the
current outpatient and day-hospital services of CAMH's Child, Youth and Family
    "We are pleased that members of the Thomson family have come together to
help CAMH achieve something so important to Canadians," said Darrell
Gregersen, President & CEO, CAMH Foundation. "Historically, mental illness and
addiction have been misunderstood causes, and with the help of this
significant donation, the family has shown genuine leadership and commitment
to addressing a longstanding inequity."
    At any given time, approximately one in seven - or 1.2 million - Canadian
children under 19 have a mental illness that impedes their ability to live
their lives fully; half of these children also have serious drug or alcohol
problems. Similarly, up to 75 per cent of youth with addiction problems also
have mental health concerns.
    At the new centre, young people will have access to 24-hour support
during the most critical phase of their illness. They will also have access to
numerous services and programs including day visits for schooling and support
services, and outpatient services to help with the adjustment to school, work
and family life beyond CAMH. The centre will enable CAMH to reach an
additional 220 to 250 youth each year.
    Nationally, CAMH's Child, Youth and Family Program is known as the
country's leader for the breadth and depth of care offered to young people
suffering from mental illnesses and addiction. In the very challenging
specialty of youth concurrent disorders, CAMH is one of the few in the world
with this combined expertise in children, youth and adults.
    Benefits of the new centre will reach beyond Canada's borders: not only
will care be improved, but CAMH's world-leading research in these areas will
be better facilitated. Discoveries made at CAMH will establish models of care
and inform best practices across Canada and beyond.
    Construction of the centre is expected to begin in 2010 as part of the
transformation of CAMH's outdated facilities into a world-leading healthcare
centre in an "urban village" environment. State-of-the-art clinical care,
research and education will be interspersed with neighbourhood amenities such
as parks, retail outlets and a healthy mix of uses and activities. The CAMH
Foundation has embarked on the most ambitious fundraising campaign ever
undertaken in Canada for mental illness and addictions: to raise $100 million
to support CAMH's redevelopment. With this new gift, the total raised now
stands at $74 million.

    CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital,
and one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and
mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development, prevention and health promotion to help transform the lives of
people affected by mental health and addiction issues.
    For more information, please visit: www.supportcamh.ca

For further information:

For further information: Karen Snider, CAMH Foundation, Communications
Consultant, (416) 277-7907

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