Mental Health Institute Design

Executive Summary

In consideration of: the bio-psycho-social nature of most mental health concerns; the resulting opportunities for building transformative research; the high burden of morbidity and mortality caused by mental health related problems; their associated social and economic costs; the need for national research priorities to coordinate and target funds to the most important public health challenges; the importance of developing a foundation of health system evidence to guide mental health reforms; the need to build both research capacity and uptake of research findings by decision-makers and consumers; and the need to incorporate a broad range of consumers and stakeholders in the mental health research process, we strongly recommend that a Mental Health Research Institute be created under the auspices of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Further we propose that the Mental Health Research Institute: (a) operate in a broker capacity between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council and central administration, funders, researchers, decision-makers, consumers, and other stakeholder groups to promote integrative and transformative research, (b) participate in centralized peer review processes and undertake and Institute-based merit review of all mental health related research, (c) directly fund capacity-building initiatives in the form of workshops, networks, and consortia, (d) take a leadership role in the development and funding of a national mental health research agenda, and (3) advocate for mental health concerns by developing innovative programs that could be funded under the aegis of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.