Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

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This profile originally appeared in the 2019-20 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.

The Royal is eastern Ontario’s largest and one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health sciences centres. Our mandate is simple: to get more people living with mental illness into recovery faster. The Royal combines the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex and treatment-resistant mental illness.

At The Royal, care informs research and research informs care. We use cutting-edge research platforms – including brain imaging and translational neuroscience – all of which promise to improve both our understanding and treatment of mental illness.

Our reputation as an innovative and effective mental health leader, along with the establishment of our Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), has enabled us to attract some of the brightest research minds from around the world.

The field of mental health is the most complicated health challenge our society faces today. With every affected individual displaying symptoms that are unique to them, successful diagnosis and treatment rates are just too low. By supporting The Royal, you are a part of a revolution in mental health research and patient care. Together, we can shift the landscape of mental health in our community and in Canada. Better research means better care.

At a glance

Year founded: 1979

Geographic region of focus: Ottawa

Total revenue for last fiscal year: $5,974,121

Top funding sources: 

  • Individual donations: 47%
  • Organizations: 43%
  • Foundations: 10%

How you can help


This week, 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to a mental illness. Mental illness causes more lost work days than any other chronic condition. The estimated annual cost of mental health disorders to the Canadian economy is a staggering $51 billion.

Mental health treatment currently stands where we were with cancer or heart disease treatment decades ago. There is still so much that we don’t know about the brain and its connections to the mind. We know that mental illness develops when there are “malfunctioning” circuits in the brain, but we still need to understand why, when and how this is happening, in order to offer more personalized and effective care.

This is where research comes in.

At The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), our scientists are hard at work making innovative discoveries that are helping to close existing knowledge gaps, and are contributing to improved, evidence-based mental health care for individuals in our community and beyond.

The Royal's BIC is helping us to understand and characterize mental illness in ways that we have never been able to previously. In a ground-breaking new study, Dr. Pierre Blier and his research team were able to demonstrate that not only can ketamine be effective in rapidly treating those with severe depression or suicidal ideation – but that it can also have significant and prolonged effects. With the knowledge of ketamine’s sustained effectiveness in hand, Dr. Blier and a team of scientists and clinicians at The Royal are working to determine how ketamine treatment measures up to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – the current “gold standard” treatment for those with difficult-to-treat depression.

Just like we can forecast heart disease through cholesterol tests, or cancer through mammograms, our scientists are working to develop the capacity to help prevent mental illness from developing in the first place. Gifts to The Royal can be directed to patient care, research, education or priority needs of the hospital.


Events and fundraising

The Inspiration Awards, March 6, 2020

The Royal’s Inspiration Awards is one of Ottawa’s premier social events, with more than 550 leaders in the corporate, political and non-profit sectors. As a corporate sponsor you will receive prominent logo visibility in advertisements, newsletters and social media, reaching thousands of businesses and individuals. If your company is interested in becoming a sponsor for our 2020 Inspiration Awards, please contact us at 613-722-5261 x 6707 to learn about our sponsorship levels.

There’s Power in the Purple

As DIFD Mach-Gaensslen Chair in Suicide Prevention Research at The Royal’s IMHR, Dr. Zachary Kaminsky is making major strides towards helping to better predict risk of suicide and depression, and potentially save lives. Using artificial intelligence, he has built an algorithm that analyzes speech patterns and psychological concepts related to suicide to effectively identify Twitter users at high risk of suicide. He is now working closely with community and clinical stakeholders to identify how this innovative suicide prevention tool can be best rolled out to support individuals, and strategically allocate resources where needed.

Board members and executives

Bellman and Cudney
President and CEO of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health Mitchell Bellman (left); Chair of the board of directors Gord Cudney

Iwona Albrecht
Partner, Soloway Wright LLP

Mitchell Bellman  
President and CEO, Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

Joanne Bezzubetz
President and CEO, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group

Marie Boivin
Owner, Barres and Wheels

Harpreet Chhabra
Area sales manager, CIBC

Susannah Crabtree
Partner, Mercer 

Gordon Cudney (Chair)
Partner, Gowling WLG

Keith Desjardins
Partner, Gowling WLG

Jane Duchscher
Executive director, Ottawa Community Loan Fund

Jeff Gallant
Portfolio manager, CIBC Private Wealth Management

Leigh Harris
Partner, EY

Ernie Laporte (Past chair)
Regional vice-president, Great West Life

Joanne Lefebvre
Partner, Team Bennett & Lefebvre

Youcef Lekadir
Principal, G. Michael Simpson Professional Corporation

Allan Malcomson
Vice-president, United Malwood Merchants

John Mathers
Senior vice-president, brand and business development, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group

Andrew Milne (Vice-chair)
McIntyre & Associates, Professional Corporation

Jennifer Mondoux
Founder and CEO, MondouxRollins Partners Inc.

Brian Murray
Director, leasing and business development, Sakto Corporation

Colleen O’Connell-Campbell (Treasurer)
Wealth advisor, RBC DS

Vittorio Pellegrino
Regional president Quebec and Eastern Ontario, BMO Bank of Montreal

David Prime (Secretary)
Partner, BDO Canada LLP

Doug Rankin 
Chief financial officer, Modern Niagara Group

Matthew Skube
News anchor, CTV Ottawa

Bruce Thomas
President, Ron Eastern Construction Ltd.

Get in touch

1145 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, Ont.
K1Z 7K4
613-722-6521 x6527

Twitter: @theroyalfdn
Facebook: TheRoyalMHC