mental disorders

Virtual Reality for Cognitive Training in Depression: the bWell Cognitive Care Platform

Many patients with depression struggle to return to their full level of functioning in work and other areas of life. These poor functional outcomes in depression may be related to cognitive difficulties, as patients demonstrate problems with memory, attention, and problem solving. We however lack treatments for these difficulties. Cognitive training, consisting of tasks to target cognitive deficits, has been tested but shows inconsistent results in depression.      

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2019

Exploring Novel Approaches to Reduce the Prevalence of Depression

Depression has recently become the leading cause of disability, worldwide. It affects one out of every 20 Canadians, causing significant suffering to patients and their families and costing the economy CAD$32.3 billion each year. Previous efforts to address the burden of disease caused by depression have mostly been focused on expanding access to mental health services.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Identity in mental health: A focus for early intervention and improving social functioning

Personal identity--one's psychological sense of personal continuity--is an important aspect of mental health, informing one's motivations, behaviours, and social relations. Disruptions in identity can contribute to prevalent conditions such as personality disorders. Indeed, distorted identity is a core aspect of personality dysfunction and disorder, contributing to considerable negative health and social outcomes--and a prominent challenge for health care providers and systems.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Understanding service use decision-making and improving engagement among youth and young adults with mental health disorders

This program of research will seek to understand how youth and young adults (YYA) with mental health (MH) disorders make decisions about seeking MH services at YYA centres such as Foundry BC. Foundry BC provides health and wellness services to YYAs through integrated service care in communities across BC. Nearly 75% of MH disorders develop before the age of 25, yet less than 20 percent of Canadian YYAs receive appropriate treatment. This can cause serious problems such as relapse, rehospitalisation, increased suicide risk, and can interrupt critical identity development.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Improving Mental Health Act rights advice communications and practices

Co-leads:

  • Kimberly Miller
    Simon Fraser University
  • Vanessa Bland 
    Vancouver Coastal Health

Team members:

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Determining best practices in CBT implementation for pediatric OCD

Youth with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often experience distressing experiences (for example, unwanted thoughts) which they try to prevent or relieve through obsessive strategies such as repeated hand-washing. Without treatment, OCD tends to remain a problem for youth and makes their lives very difficult.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for most youth with OCD. However, CBT is a broad term that can include different strategies and exactly which strategies are the best to use has not been carefully studied.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Neuromodulation research program for youth addiction and mental health

Each year, approximately 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem. Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and substance use than other age groups.

Depression is one of the most common mental illness, but current treatments are either ineffective or lead to side effects in up to 50% of youth. In youth, medications are often borrowed from adult population not accounting for age-related brain differences. New solutions are needed to address major gaps in treatment of youth mental health.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Improving outcomes in the treatment of eating disorders: Self-compassion in patients, families and clinicians

Self-compassion refers to an individual's capacity to be mindful, recognize our common humanity in times of hardship, and to practice self-kindness in times of suffering. It has been shown to be beneficial in working with individuals with chronic health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and eating disorders. However, many individuals have difficulty with this skill and experience barriers to being self-compassionate. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2018

The role of material security in improving health for people who use illicit drugs

It is well known that an adequate and secure income promotes health. However, material security (e.g., housing, food, and service access) may operate distinctly from income security, particularly for people who use illicit drugs, whose ongoing need to acquire drugs may affect the degree to which income security translates into material security and subsequent health improvements. Nevertheless, material security and its relationship with health are not well understood, an important oversight in research among people who use illicit drugs (PWUD). 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Evaluation of the role of FRMP on BDNF expression and signaling

Fragile-X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and is the best characterized form of autism spectrum disorder. This genetic condition is caused by a mutation in the FMR1 gene, leading to the functional loss of FMR1 protein (FMRP). Besides being important for neuronal development, this protein also exerts a strong influence on synaptic plasticity. As a matter of fact, FMRP is highly expressed in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, one of the few regions of the adult brain where the birth of new neurons takes place. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Innovative addiction research program: Addressing polysubstance use

British Columbia (BC) faces a mental health and addiction crisis with an estimated cost of $100 million annually. In April 2016, a public health emergency was declared due to an alarming increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in recent years.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017
Health Category: 
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