Research and INNOVATION

As the main agent in Ontario for schizophrenia and psychotic illness, SSO continues to collaborate with and engage key partners on important developments in schizophrenia and schizophrenia research.
Since 1993, SSO has contributed over 1-million to research on schizophrenia and psychotic illnesses by funding over 20 projects by new and established scientists. Today, SSO’s research initiatives continue to support biomedical research through the Thomas Gabriel McGowan Biomedical Research Fund (established in 2017) and the Bill Jefferies Research Fund, which supports both biomedical and psychosocial research. Guided by our expert Scientific Advisory Council, our research focuses on systems improvement, innovation, biomedical and psychosocial advancements and policy change. This ranges from partnerships with scientists to utilizing our own expertise through academic research reviews and constituent-input surveys. 

SSO’s recent research work includes

  1. Supporting researcher Dr. Paul Kurdyak (CAMH) in the evaluation of transitions into and out of correctional centres among Ontarians with schizophrenia.  
  2. In the fall of 2017, development of a discussion paper in response to the legalization of cannabis, implemented the following year (October of 2018).
  3. Including the voice of those living with schizophrenia in influencing important current issues and research initiatives, including decisions about what medications or treatments should be publicly funded. Our recent submission to the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee helped lead Health Quality Ontario to recommend public funding for CBT-p for people with schizophrenia. In February of 2017, we led a patient submission to the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health’s (CADTH) Common Drug Review Committee for its consideration when determining the reimbursement eligibility for Brexpiprazole. We have provided feedback on HQO’s Schizophrenia: Care in the Community for Adults Quality Standard and together with HQO, have supported its adoption among families and caregivers.
  1. SSO is currently evaluating the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBT-p) to help individuals with schizophrenia and psychosis who are living at or below the poverty line, hoping to establish its validity as an intervention to the poverty cycle. This initiative is helping people who are isolated have better connections in their communities. Concluding in 2020, the project aims to equip front line community workers to better support individuals in the community living with mental illness.

Institute for Advancements in Mental Health (IAM)

Created in 2017, SSO’s innovation initiative, the Institute for Advancements in Mental Health (IAM), was inspired by and evolved out of our four decades of serving people with schizophrenia and psychosis, and a desire to build a system better equipped to respond to their needs.

With a mission to redesign society for better mental health, IAM aims to redesign the way we approach mental health in our communities through bringing entrepreneurs, design experts and innovators together to make the quality of life better for people with mental illness.

IAM works with partners in the corporate, research and health sectors to co-design creative solutions to support people in our communities who live with mental illness and to tackle gaps in current mental health supports. IAM is a bold effort to stimulate a culture of innovation in the mental health sector, redefine public discourse about mental health and wellness, and complement the existing breadth of research with a focus on applying solutions in the marketplace. IAM occupies a unique position within the mental health sector by its ability to offer niche market solutions that can improve the lives of people.

Through IAM, we are pleased to present the first-ever Canada-wide Innovation Prize Challenge, valued at up to $100,000, and established in collaboration with Mental Health Research Canada.