$5-million gift positions UAlberta as leader in child and adolescent mental health research

CASA-funded research chair in Department of Psychiatry aims to improve front-line strategies for mental health and addictions issues.

Ross Neitz - 20 September 2018

CASA, a child, adolescent and family mental-health organization has committed $5 million over the next 10 years for the University of Alberta's Department of Psychiatry to develop the CASA Research Chair in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

The new chair will help drive community-focused research and apply evidence-based findings to front-line care with an aim of improving the lives of children, youth and families with mental-health and addictions issues. A key aim will be to collaborate with children, youth and their parents to gain new insights and solutions.

"There are all kinds of gaps in the area of youth mental health," said Denise Milne, CEO of CASA and CASA Foundation. "We see a variety of children struggling with mental-health challenges ranging from eating and sleeping disorders, to attention deficit disorder, to depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation and serious attempts."

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, an estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness, yet less than 20 per cent will receive appropriate treatment.

"We need to support children and their families in their earlier years through their challenges and struggles so they can have healthy and productive lives," said Milne.

"I'm very excited about this gift. It will be transformative," said Xin-Min Li, chair of the U of A's Department of Psychiatry. "Together with CASA, we'll establish a leading education, training and research centre in Canada for youth mental health."