Deborah Gillis, ​President and CEO, CAMH Foundation, Naveed Irshad, President and CEO, Manulife Canada, Honourable Sylvia Jones, Deputy Ontario Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Liisa Galea, Treliving Family Chair in Women’s Mental Health and Senior Scientist. Image: CNW Group/Manulife Financial Corporation

Manulife, a global life and health insurer, has pledged $1 million over three years to bolster the Women’s Health Research Cluster (WHRC) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). This financial commitment aims to address critical gaps in mental health research and advocacy, particularly concerning women’s mental health needs.

The WHRC is an international network of professionals spanning 29 countries, dedicated to promoting equitable access to mental health care for women and girls worldwide. With a focus on an integrated health approach, the WHRC acknowledges various factors influencing mental health outcomes, including access to resources, economic status, and overall well-being.

“Women’s health research has, for centuries, been undervalued and underfunded,” said Dr. Liisa Galea, inaugural Treliving Family Chair in Women’s Mental Health, Scientific Lead for womenmind, and Leader of the Women’s Health Research Cluster. “In Canada, less than 6 percent of research projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research explicitly examine factors specific to women’s health, despite the fact that many mental health disorders—such as anxiety and depression—disproportionately affect girls, women and gender diverse individuals. We need to do better, and we can do better. I am very grateful to Manulife as one of the largest corporate supporters of CAMH to help us cultivate sex and gender health equity in Canada and worldwide.”

“Our government is working with our partners to break down barriers to make it easier, and more convenient for people to access the mental health services they need, when they need them,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, “Womenmind is another example of how collaboration across the health care system is ensuring essential research into women’s mental health, leading to better access to high quality mental health services, in every corner of the province, and meeting the unique needs of women across Ontario and Canada.”

Through the partnership, Manulife will provide the Women’s Health Research Cluster with $1 million over three years to advance its strategic priorities, including:

  • Research Facilitation: Enabling and connecting researchers to do their best work;
  • Capacity Development: Building the next generation of researchers;
  • Advocacy: Driving equity in policy and investment in women’s health research;
  • Knowledge Translation: Generating interdisciplinary dialogue around women’s health to improve health outcomes.

“Manulife proudly supports the WHRC’s efforts to tackle sex and gender disparities in science to place the unique needs and experiences of women at the forefront of mental and physical health research,” said Naveed Irshad, President of Manulife Canada. “We are deeply committed to fostering positive change and empowering sustained health and well-being here in Canada and worldwide. This partnership exemplifies our broader mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities where we live and work, leaving a lasting legacy of support and empowerment.”

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