Bell Let's Talk donates $1 million to the Fondation de l’Institut Universitaire en santé mentale de Québec

  • Groundbreaking research in biological diagnostics for early detection of mental illness through the retina
  • Largest ever donation from a private partner to be made to the Fondation de l’Institut en santé mentale de Québec

Québec City, January 25, 2016 – The Fondation de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec (FIUSMQ) is pleased to announce a $1 million donation from Bell Let’s Talk in support of ground-breaking research to detect early signs of mental illness in youth from families with a history of mental illness. Today’s announcement, attended by Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaetan Barrette, is the largest donation from a private partner ever made to support the Fondation de l’Institut en santé mentale de Québec

Fresh hope for families
New hope for young people in at-risk families may lie in the use of electroretinography to develop what would be the world’s first biological test to aid in diagnosing mental illness.. Such a non-invasive test through the retina will enable researchers at Centre de recherche de l’IUMSQ to locate biomarkers and attempt to understand the behaviour of mental illnesses and their development early on.

The Centre de recherche de l’IUMSQ is pleased to announce that Pierre Marquet, a leading international researcher and holder of the only Canada Excellence Research Chair in mental health, has recently joined the clinic’s team, underscoring the importance of this promising project for the future.

HoPE is an innovative organizational transformation project dedicated to improving screening, accessibility and continuity in first- and second-line services for children and adolescents with a parent suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or recurrent major depression.

“It is an important contribution to mental health research, and I am very happy that Bell Let’s Talk and the FOIIQ are enhancing the well-being of Québecers in this way,” said Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services. “This initiative involves reorganizing mental health care and services for young people; it will also allow the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale to improve intervention quality through a preventative approach by offering users fluid, simplified access, as well as continuous, integrated and collaborative service.”

 “One of the major challenges of the 21st century is to unravel the mysteries of the brain. This is necessary to help combat such illnesses as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's, chronic pain, bipolar, depression and schizophrenia. The work of the Centre de recherche de l’IUSMQ  in investigating how light affects the brain has enabled enormous progress to be made in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry. But much remains to be done.  We thank Bell for its financial support, which will help accelerate discoveries such as the development of the first biological test to aid in diagnosing mental illness,” explained Dr. Yves De Koninck, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Université Laval, Scientific Director of the Quebec Mental Health Institute Research Centre and Director of Research of the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale.

Bell Let's Talk is pleased to build on our investment in mental health in Québec with our donation to the Fondation de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec. Support for new research is one of the 4 pillars of Bell Let’s Talk and there is no doubt innovation such as Centre de recherche de l’IUSMQ  work to develop a tool for early detection of mental illness can make a significant difference in the lives of people at risk of mental illness. With its focus on coaching and discussion, the HoPE clinic will also be a major step forward in promoting anti-stigma awareness,” said Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec.

Foundation Chair Michel Verreault is pleased to partner with Bell Let’s Talk for the largest donation in the foundation's history. “This is a great moment for the foundation, and we hope that this donation will inspire other major companies to partner with us at our research centre to help unravel the mysteries of the brain. This donation shows that large industry players acknowledge the cutting-edge developments in mental health work carried out by our research centre.”

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 27
Bell Let's Talk promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Clara's Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk and the annual Bell Let's Talk Day, as well as significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives.

On the sixth annual Bell Let's Talk Day on January 27, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk Day image at To learn more, please visit

About the Centre de recherche
The Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec (CRIUSMQ) is one of the largest neuroscience and mental health research centres in Canada. It studies the leading causes of brain disorders. It brings together 69 researchers (including 47 full-time researchers) who lead teams of nearly 500 people. The Centre de recherche offers multidisciplinary expertise ranging from membrane biophysics to social intervention, including cognitive psychology.

The mission of the CRIUSMQ is to generate a new and growing body of knowledge concerning the causes and treatments of neurological and psychiatric diseases through innovative approaches, in order to unravel the mysteries of the brain, and through ongoing cooperation between fundamental and clinical research.

About the Foundation
Since 1977, the Fondation de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec has raised funds to contribute to mental health research, teaching and improved care.

Committed to offering hope of recovery to people suffering from neurological diseases or mental illness, the foundation mainly funds discoveries and innovations to better understand the brain, while also contributing to promising care and teaching initiatives in eastern Québec.

The foundation has three strategic priorities: research, care and teaching.



Mélanie Côté
Communications/Marketing Coordinator
Fondation de l’IUSMQ
Office: 418-663-5000, extension 6684
Cell: 418-952-3551


Sophie Allard
Communications Advisor
Centre de recherche IUSMQ
Office: 418-663-5000, extension 5740

Caroline Audet