Mission:  

Based in Canada and open to the world, GBF aims to be a catalyst in bringing about transformational changes that significantly improve the lives of people with or at risk of mental illness.

The Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF) is a private foundation created by J. Anthony Boeckh and his family to fund initiatives in the area of mental health. A timeline of the Foundation’s activities is provided below.

Mental health is an issue that touches us all, either personally or through family and friends.  Graham Boeckh grew up as a friendly, passionate and sensitive boy with many friends; he was an accomplished athlete, outdoorsman, canoeist and student whose life began to unravel as the symptoms of schizophrenia began to take hold. He died at the age of 22 from Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (complications from medication).

The health system failed Graham as it has countless others: poor access, misdiagnoses and improper care and supervision. That is why our family has been determined to improve how patients and families are treated in Canada.

The Foundation’s goal is to be a catalyst for transforming mental health services by initiating a suite of strategic projects. An important aspect of these projects is that they aim to foster collaboration and to break down the silos within the mental health sector and to place patients and families at the centre of care. The projects also involve numerous partners across Canada and abroad.

The Foundation supports a variety of projects, with a primary focus on youth mental health.  For more information on these and other projects, please see:

  1. Youth Mental Health 
  2. Other projects

Note: Your interest in the Foundation is appreciated.  Kindly note that the Foundation’s philosophy is to strategically lead and fund projects that will have a transformative impact and does not accept requests for funding proposals.

Milestones

1990 – Honouring Graham

1990 – Honouring Graham

J. Anthony Boeckh and his family establish the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF) in honour of his son, Graham, who passed away due to schizophrenia-related complications. The first major project was the establishment in 1996 of a chair in schizophrenia research at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute by Raymonde and Tony Boeckh.  They were the initial drivers of the Foundation and worked together as co-chairs of the Board of Directors for many years. Raymonde, a tireless and passionate advocate to improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness, retired from the Board at the end of 2016, having made major contributions to the Foundation’s development.

2017 Recipient of the Dr. Samarthji Lal Award for Mental Health Research

2017 Recipient of the Dr. Samarthji Lal Award for Mental Health Research

Dr. Gobbi, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, whose work is dedicated to bridging clinical psychiatry and basic psychopharmacology research. Her main researcher clinician contributions have been in the field of the cannabinoid system and melatonin receptors.

BC-IYSI: 5 new sites announced

BC-IYSI:  5 new sites announced

GBF is supporting the BC Integrated Youth Services Initiative (BC-IYSI) to improve access to mental health, substance use and primary care for youth and young adults across British Columbia. The first centre was established in downtown Vancouver and, in June 2016,  the BC government and partners announced the five communities of Kelowna, Campbell river, Prince George, Vancouver North Shore and Abbotsford, where the first phase of a $7.5 million investment in support of new Integrated Youth Services centres will be realized.  

2016 Recipient of the Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2016 Recipient of the Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

Dr. Sareen has held peer-reviewed grant funding as the principal investigator in the areas of military mental health, Aboriginal suicide, and homelessness. His research interests are diverse, including leader of a large partnership grant with First Nations communities in Northwestern Manitoba to improve the understanding of suicide and suicide prevention measures.

November 2015 – International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders – Annual Meeting

November 2015 – International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders – Annual Meeting

The international funders have their annual meeting at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. where they discuss 3 themes: Global Landscaping Studies, International Collaborations in Child and Youth Mental Health Research, and Making the Case for Mental Health Research Funding.

Sept 2015 – Indicators

Sept 2015 – Indicators

GBF  initiates a project to create national mental healthcare system indicators under the leadership of Dr. Elliot Goldner and the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) at Simon Fraser University.

October 2015 – 3rd International Conference on Youth Mental Health – Transformations: Next Generation Youth Mental Health

October 2015 – 3rd International Conference on Youth Mental Health – Transformations: Next Generation Youth Mental Health

Hosted by the International Association of Youth Mental Health in partnership with the Graham Boeckh Foundation and McGill University’s Douglas Institute, this major international conference takes place in Montreal on October 8th – 10th, 2015. The conference is attended by over 570 delegates who are welcomed by remarks from Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.

June 2015 – Ian Boeckh Becomes President of GBF

June 2015 – Ian Boeckh Becomes President of GBF

Ian’s professional background is primarily in the area of economics and finance. He has a Bachelor of Economics from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and a Masters of Economics from the University of British Columbia.

2015 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2015 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

Dr. Jeffrey Meyer for work in applying positron emission tomography imaging to discover abnormalities associated with a major depressive episode, to quantify the effects of antidepressant treatments, and to identify new links between environmental factors and the neurobiology of major depressive disorder.

March 2015 – FRQS – GBF – MSSS

March 2015 – FRQS – GBF – MSSS

The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the Graham Boeckh Foundation,  and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) launch a partnership to address youth mental health in Quebec.

June 2014 – Announcement of the Successful TRAM Network

June 2014 – Announcement of the Successful TRAM Network

ACCESS Open Minds, led by Dr. Ashok Malla, is chosen as the successful TRAM Network through a competitive process. The goal of the network is to transform youth mental health care in Canada over a five year period.

2014 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2014 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

Dr. Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair, Research and Academic Affairs, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University; Director, McGill Group for Suicide Studies; Head, Depressive Disorders Program, Douglas Mental Health Institute.

January 2014 – Sandbox Project Funding

January 2014 – Sandbox Project Funding

The Sandbox youth mental health project aims to test a comprehensive set of electronic tools for managing mental illness. More specifically, the tools aim to improve care in a number of ways, including: facilitate self-management and rich communication with health care providers, and family and friends, improve the quality of consumer-practitioner interactions and increase provider productivity.

2013 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2013 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

The Graham Boeckh Foundation is proud to present the third annual Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research to Z. Jeff Daskalakis, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP(C), Associate Professor of Psychiatry at University of Toronto and Director of the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

April 2013 – Mental Health and Wellness Affinity Group

April 2013 – Mental Health and Wellness Affinity Group

GBF, with the help of Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC) establishes the Mental Health and Wellness Affinity Group (MHWAG). MHWAG is comprised of major Canadian-based philanthropic foundations that have come together to foster collective learning opportunities, knowledge exchange and collaborative funding initiatives.

February 2013 – Coalition for Access to Psychotherapy

February 2013 – Coalition for Access to Psychotherapy

Unlocking Access to Psychotherapy in Quebec Following recommendations made by the Health and Welfare Commission of Quebec, GBF and the Mental Illness Foundation establish the Coalition for Access to Psychotherapy (CAP). CAP believes that psychotherapy should be available under the public healthcare system to all people suffering from mental illness who would benefit from such services.

October 2012 – National Research-to-Practice Initiative in Youth Mental Health

October 2012 – National Research-to-Practice Initiative in Youth Mental Health

The Creation of a Patient-Oriented Network ‘Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health’ (TRAM) is established. GBF and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) collaborate to fund this unique public/private partnership with the objective of transforming the system of mental health care for young people over five years.

April 2012 – James D. Hughes Appointed President

April 2012 – James D. Hughes Appointed President

A lawyer by training, Mr. Hughes brings his extensive knowledge and experience working in social development to the GBF team.

April 2012 – Identifying the Need to Focus on Youth Mental Health

April 2012 – Identifying the Need to Focus on Youth Mental Health

GBF hosts the ‘Next Frontier in Mental Health’ symposium in Toronto. The focus was on how best to achieve transformational change in mental health service over the next 5 years.

2012 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2012 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

Dr. Todd Woodward, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UBC, and Research Scientist, BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Institute (BCMHARI).

May 2011 – Frontiers in Mental Health Symposium

May 2011 – Frontiers in Mental Health Symposium

‘This symposium was proof that the time had come for raising public awareness and interest in mental health.’ — Tony Boeckh GBF co-sponsors its first symposium with the Gairdner Foundation, ‘Frontiers in Mental Health’, where the world’s leading scientists presented recent advances in the cause and treatment of mental health disease, highlighting promising areas of research from imaging to pharmacological treatment.

2011 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2011 Recipient of Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

Dr. Ridha Joober, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, McGill University; Psychiatrist and Principal Investigator, Douglas Hospital and Douglas Hospital Research Centre.

2010 – Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

2010 – Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

GBF establishes the award to honour the renowned psychiatrist who played a pivotal role in GBF’s establishment of the ‘Graham Boeckh Chair in Schizophrenia Studies’. The annual award recognizes an outstanding Canadian researcher in the area of psychiatry with a focus on major mental disorders.

2009 – International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders

2009 – International  Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders

GBF and RAND Europe establish the ‘International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders’ (formerly SOS). Through the International Alliance, mental health scientists, practitioners and policy makers analyze the impact of funding initiatives on mental health research and care in order to inform funders of how best to achieve impact. The first publication under the International Alliance was the Bibliometrics study.

2008 – Partners for Life

2008 – Partners for Life

GBF makes a three-year commitment, partnering with the Mental Illness Foundation, to bring the school-based outreach program Solidaires pour la vie (Partners for Life), to English schools in Quebec. Students, parents, teachers and school staff are educated to identify signs and symptoms of depression, and are referred to the right resources. GBF continues to support the Mental Illness Foundation in their efforts to educate youths about mental illness and encourage those in difficulty to reach out for assistance.

1998 – Guy Rouleau, Inaugural Graham Boeckh Chairholder

1998 – Guy Rouleau, Inaugural Graham Boeckh Chairholder

Dr. Rouleau brings his world-renowned expertise in molecular genetics to research the genetic causes of schizophrenia.

1996 – The Graham Boeckh Chair

1996 – The Graham Boeckh Chair

GBF creates one of North America’s first chairs in schizophrenia research. The Graham Boeckh Chair in Schizophrenia Research is established at the Douglas Institute of McGill University. The Chair is to serve as a catalyst for research into schizophrenia, attracting world-renowned researchers and scientists to the Douglas.