The Ontario Depression Network (ODN) is a collaboration between the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN) and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT), in affiliation with the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO). Experience in several fields is brought together in this collaboration – CANMAT’s experience in patient care, clinical research and knowledge transfer is combined with the experience in the lived-experience perspective, educational training, government relations and advocacy that is offered by CDRIN and MDAO. The University of Toronto serves as the ODN ‘hub’, and is connected to spoke sites across Ontario which will engage in collaborative initiatives. The ODN is also linked to education activities through the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network for Depression (CAN-BIND) research program led by Dr. Sidney Kennedy.

What is our goal?
The primary objective of ODN is to cultivate connections between communities in Ontario in order to facilitate mental health advocacy, education and resource building. Working alliances will be developed between mental health practitioners and agencies, as well as members of the community. Collaboration between these groups can help to inform future initiatives and identify gaps that may currently exist. Secondly, ODN also aims to develop a framework of translational psychiatry that can be directly applied to health care. This knowledge will help to improve “mental health intelligence” in both public and scientific communities.

What do we do?
Most importantly, ODN aims to assess the needs of the designated communities in order to identify potential strengths as well as gaps that may exist. We plan to:

  • Focus on awareness and advocacy of mental health issues
  • Offer annual public education events centered around knowledge translation, which will outline the progress made in the field and welcome community feedback on current initiatives and future directions
  • Identify gaps that would benefit from resource development (e.g. further training)

Suicide risk and suicide prevention in adults and youth will be a focus of several of these initiatives. Updates on recent projects and developments will be communicated through the ODN website. Although it facilitates program development, the ODN hub does not provide clinical care.