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The roots of the Centre for Mental Health date back to 1909 when Toronto General Hospital opened the first outpatient clinic for psychiatric cases in Canada. Two years later, our long history of collaboration and integrated care began when that first clinic partnered with the newly established Social Services Department to assist in addressing the mental, physical and social needs of patients.
Mental health services remained under the direction of the internal medicine department until Canada's centennial year, 1967, when the Departments of Psychiatry at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital became independent. A research division was created three years later and located across College Street in the Banting Institute.
As the Department of Psychiatry, we built a track record of innovation establishing:
We partnered with the divisions of neurosurgery and neurology in 2003 to conduct the world's first deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. Such innovation would lead to the establishment of our MRI-Guided Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) clinic.
In 2015, we were renamed the Centre for Mental Health. Our decision reflected the changing view of mental health and a desire to be more inclusive and representative of the diversity of mental health-related issues.
In recent years, the Centre continues to evolve creating new clinics – like the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic to address the need for low-barrier substance use disorder treatment – and driving innovative research – such as the world's first randomized clinical trial of continuation pharmacotherapy of psychotic depression.
Thanks to a landmark $5M donation from the Hansen family, we founded the Poul Hansen Family Centre for Depression in 2018, creating our one-stop shop for those seeking help and treatment, and providing a personalized approach to care for patients and their families.
In 2021, we opened our Mental Health in Medicine Clinic, with financial support from the Slaight Family Foundation. The clinic will transform how patients with physical health conditions receive mental health care across UHN.
The integration of physical and mental health care is the primary focus of the Centre of Mental Health in the coming years as we lean on our history of innovation and collaboration, expand our services and build a new generation of treatments to improve effectiveness and access for our patients.