May 9 2016

The ACCESS Open Minds (ACCESS) network is a pan-Canadian initiative to show how youth mental health services can be transformed. It is a joint venture of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Graham Boeckh Foundation. Each partner is contributing $12.5 million over the five-year life of the project.  This unique research project is led by Nominated Principal Investigator Dr. Ashok Malla.  The goal of ACCESS is to develop and evaluate an evidence-informed, sustainable and scalable model for mental health and substance abuse service delivery that positively impacts and transforms youth mental health outcomes in Canada.  ACCESS aims to demonstrate how innovative partnerships and collaboration can have a significant influence on the delivery of youth mental healthcare.

On May 9th, 2016, the first ACCESS site opened its doors in the community of Chatham-Kent in south-western Ontario.  Over 300 guests were welcomed in celebration of this new mental health delivery hub that aims to be a one stop shop to connect youth aged 11 to 25 years with mental health services. A Youth Advisory Council co-designed both the physical and virtual spaces of the Chatham-Kent site.

“As one of the 12 sites across Canada, we in Chatham-Kent are extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to lead the way in transforming youth mental health services in our community. Over the past 18 months, our community members, including service providers, educators, youth, families and concerned community partners have invested hundreds of hours in working together and challenging the status quo which has resulted in a network of individuals who have united in a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts. There is synergy, refreshed partnerships and a strong community commitment to our Chatham-Kent youth and their families. It’s a privilege to be part of something that we consider will be a true game changer,” said Paula Reaume-Zimmer, Integrated Vice President, Mental Health & Addictions Services, CKHA, CMHA Lambton-Kent and Bluewater Health.

For more information, visit ACCESS Open Minds Chatham-Kent’s official website: