CAMH Foundation shines a spotlight on addiction

New advertising campaign calls on Canadians to help CAMH confront the drug crisis and build a future where no one is left behind

Today, CAMH Foundation put a spotlight on addiction and substance use in a new marketing campaign. It brings attention to the scale and harms of addiction and substance use that CAMH is confronting through research and treatment, while raising critical funds for life-saving research at Canada’s leading mental health hospital.

It is estimated that six million Canadians experience addiction in their lifetime and an average of 20 die from opioid toxicity every day. At CAMH alone, the number of people visiting our Emergency Department (ED) due to amphetamine use increased by 700 per cent between 2014 and 2021. The number of young people coming to our ED for substance use disorders went up by 50 per cent between July 2022 and January 2023.

“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented crisis,” says Dr. Leslie Buckley, CAMH’s Chief of Addictions and a key consultant on the campaign. “CAMH is advancing critical research and treatments that are helping people experiencing substance use issues and their families. By putting a spotlight on addiction, we’re highlighting the struggles that people are facing and the need for urgent investments in solutions that make a difference.”

This marketing effort is part of CAMH’s ongoing No One Left Behind fundraising campaign. With a goal of $500 million, No One Left Behind is the world’s largest fundraising campaign for hospital-based mental health research. Philanthropic donations will accelerate mental health research at CAMH and build a new Research & Discovery Centre at CAMH’s Queen Street site in Toronto. These investments will enable researchers to tackle the mental health and addiction crisis, driving discovery in priority areas such as brain science, youth mental health and health equity. The Research & Discovery Centre will house a number of addiction-focused labs and groups, as well as a clinical research areas where patients experiencing mental illness, including addiction, can be part of CAMH studies that improve treatment and outcomes.

“A significant opportunity is on the horizon to ensure people living with mental illness and addiction have the same access to high-quality care as people needing treatment in other parts of medicine, says Sarah Downey, President & CEO, CAMH. “We are confident that CAMH will continue to inspire hope by leading more breakthrough research discoveries, delivering exceptional care and ensuring that mental health and addiction remain on the national agenda.”

The campaign is featured in a variety of media, including video and radio spots, and will be further amplified on CAMH and CAMH Foundation’s social and digital platforms. It will highlight CAMH’s leadership in addiction research and treatment and include a diverse and powerful collection of stories of people with lived experience of addiction.

“We want people to see this campaign out in the world and know that there’s always hope and help—and they can find it at CAMH,” says Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, CAMH Foundation. “Addiction has touched everyone’s life in one way or another, and as a global leader in mental health research, we have a responsibility to confront this crisis head on. We’re calling on our incredible community of supporters to continue supporting the work that happens at CAMH and help us build a future where no one is left behind.”

This latest fundraising effort was developed in partnership with Camp Jefferson, CAMH’s agency of record. The No One Left Behind Campaign Cabinet comprises 24 dedicated volunteers and mental health champions who are leading the charge toward CAMH's ambitious fundraising goal. The Campaign Cabinet is led by co-Chairs Cameron Fowler and Sandi Treliving, who are also members of the CAMH Foundation Board of Directors.

Click here to donate to CAMH Foundation and learn more about the No One Left Behind campaign.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit or follow @CAMHnews and @camhfoundation on X (Twitter).

For further information: Hayley Clark, Manager, Media Strategy, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), [email protected]