Canadian Network for Child and Youth Mental Health Trials secures federal funding

May 8, 2024 - Thunder Bay, Ont. 

Aislin MushquashFederal funding has been announced for the Canadian Network for Child and Youth Mental Health Trials (CYMH Trials Network), a new network to support clinical research that aims to improve mental health care for children nationwide.

Mental health challenges remain a serious health issue among Canadian youth. Seventy-five percent of mental health disorders emerge before age 25. At any given time, one in every eight children under the age of 18 years has a mental health disorder requiring specialized health services.

A research network for child and youth mental health clinical trials does not yet exist in Canada, unlike other high-income countries.

Local network lead, Dr. Aislin Mushquash, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, states that “This network for children and youth mental health trials will provide critical infrastructure for researchers, trainees, andcommunity partners to develop high-quality studies that reflect real-world complexities, recruit diverse and representative populations, and conduct multi-centre trials across the country.”

The CYMH Trials Network will support high-quality, innovative clinical trials designed to improve mental health care for Canadian children and youth.

Guided by a team that spans 12 institutions and six provinces, including partnerships with national research and training networks and centres, the CYMH Trials Network boasts a nationwide presence. Funding support from the Accelerating Clinical Trials (ACT)/ Accélérer les Essais Cliniques (AEC) Consortium, totalling $150,000, also underlines federal endorsement of the network.

This funding announcement marks an important first step in improving mental health treatments for children and youth. The network is also exploring partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and tech start-ups to build upon their findings and streamline medication access for families. Treatments developed through these partnerships could be put into a clinical care setting— allowing children and youth to access safe therapies vetted and formulated for their specific needs.

Dr. Mushquash will ensure that the needs of youth and community partners within Northwestern Ontario are reflected in the scope of the network. A key facet of the network is bringing together researchers, trainees, patient partners, Indigenous and community leaders, and decision-makers from across the country to improve child and youth mental health care. “This network will ultimately transform how Canadian child and youth mental health trials are developed and conducted” says Dr. Mushquash.



Aislin Mushquash
807-343-8010 ext. 8771

Jaclyn Bucik
705-330-4010 ext. 2014