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CAMH gets $10-million donation from McCain

Cheryl Marsh hugs her son Colin Stainton, 11 near their home in Toronto on April 24, 2012. Marsh and her son Colin took part in a program called the Coping Power Program, that helped Cheryl and Colin deal with Colin's anger. On Wednesday, CAMH will announce a $10 million donation from Margaret McCain for mental health programs for children and youth, that will be used, among other things, to hire more staff, create programs and start an inpatient unit for youth with both mental health and addictions.


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is set to receive a $10-million boost for its children and youth programs.

The donation, to be announced Wednesday, will help the Toronto hospital hire more specialists in the field, create a new crisis intervention team to care for young people who come into the emergency department and set up an inpatient unit for youth with both mental illnesses and addictions, among other initiatives.

The donor is Margaret McCain, a philanthropist and child advocate who co-authored three major provincial studies on early childhood learning.

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The donation – which CAMH says is the largest in Canada for child and youth mental health – is also meant to help CAMH co-ordinate between agencies and provide resources for them.

"There needs to be a large umbrella organization that connects the dots," Ms. McCain said in an interview. "One place for new evidence and research for community agencies."

CAMH's child and youth services will be pulled together into a new Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health.

The majority of people who have mental illnesses as adults show warning signs earlier in life, making services for children and youth crucial, said CAMH CEO Catherine Zahn.

"To invest in children always has the greatest impact, in the opinion of many," Dr. Zahn said.

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