Our Research

Our research program has a broad focus and draws on neuroscience to inform early interventions for youth in need. To this end, we take a pragmatic approach: we use all available tools and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of stakeholders, including people with lived experience in mental health and their families and caregivers. The Centre focuses not only on research to generate new knowledge, but to directly applying such knowledge in the delivery of youth mental health services and providing training to a new generation of clinicians, researchers, and support workers with expertise by lived experience.

Behavioural development, Long-term Outcomes and Opportunities to optimize youth Mental health trajectories (BLOOM)

We are establishing a cohort of help-seeking and non help-seeking youth and families facing adversity who will be followed long-term to evaluate the course of functioning and pathways to care. This will enable us to institute a large, multi-level cohort and collect rigorous data at individual, family, and service levels on a longitudinal basis. The aim is to help us prevent and better assess onset of mental issues in young people as well as improving access to specialized care when needed. 

Recruitment of participants for this study will begin soon, pending ethics approval.

See full webpage here

This study is supported by RBC Foundation, Medavie-Blue Cross, Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation, and the Molson Foundation. For more information, please contact the project manager, Céline Villemus, at celine.villemus.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca or info@ceymh-cesmj.ca.

More than just words (MOTS+): A speech-based relapse detection tool

This three-site (Montreal, Quebec City, London ON) project will systematically collect Canadian French and English speech data from people living with psychosis to identify speech markers that can help forewarn patients, families, and clinicians about the recurrence of psychosis (i.e., relapse) a month in advance based on unique features in a patient’s speech. Working with patients and care providers, we will also lay the foundation to develop a digital clinical implementation path for relapse prevention. This project will provide key insights into how we can harness speech technology to meet the increasing demands for quality mental health care for psychosis province-wide and nationwide.

Recruitment of participants for this study will begin soon. 

This study is funded by the Fonds de recherche Québec – Santé  Strategic Mental Health Initiative and the Wellcome Trust. 

 For more information, please contact

Magnetoencephalography in Psychosis program (MEGPSY): Temporal regularity of neural activity and its relationship to psychotic symptoms

Both speech comprehension and production are affected in schizophrenia. Patients produce peculiar words and sentences that are out of context and unpredictable, leading to a failure in communication. Understanding the neural mechanisms behind this abnormality, and their relationship with these symptoms is thus needed. MEGPSY proposes a combined bioimaging and speech analysis study aiming to investigate the brain’s role in communication problems among people with schizophrenia. This research involves the examination of speech, thinking patterns and symptoms, as well as recordings of brain activity through Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). 

We are currently recruiting participants for this study.

For eligibility criteria and more information, please read the following brochures:

Healthy controls: MEGPSY Recruitment Flyer_HC_FR & EN

Patients: MEGPSY Recruitment Flyer Patients_FR & EN

This study is funded by the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre Collaboration Program and the Quebec Bio-Imaging Network. 

If you have any questions or are interested in participating, please contact nadia.zeramdini.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca.

IMPLEMENT – Efficacy of magnetic stimulation in treating negative symptoms in schizophrenia

rTMS – repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – is a novel treatment that is non-invasive, safe, and relatively quick to administer. It is currently approved by Health Canada for people experiencing depression. It works by delivering short magnetic pulses to stimulate specific regions of the brain, strengthening brain connectivity and improving communication between different brain regions. In this study, we aim to investigate whether rTMS can help reduce the negative symptoms associated with psychosis (e.g., withdrawal, lack of emotion or interest). This may provide a new treatment option for people experiencing negative symptoms as most current treatments for schizophrenia such as medication target positive symptoms with no effect on negative symptoms.

We are currently recruiting participants for this study. For eligibility criteria and more information, please read the following brochure: Implement rTMS Brochure EN & FR

To watch our study video please click here

For questions or inquiries please reach out to Research Study Coordinator Nadia Zeramdini at nadia.zeramdini.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca, info@ceymh-cesmj.ca, or (438) 350-1721. 

This study is supported by Horizon Europe and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Disorganized Communication and Social Dysfunction in Schizophrenia: A Neurobehavioural Study

The social disability associated with schizophrenia significantly affects patients’ quality of life, yet current treatments have limited success in addressing these challenges. This research investigates the underlying mechanisms of social dysfunction in schizophrenia, focusing on the unexplored link between disorganized communication and social interaction. This study uses multi-brain imaging technology called hyperscanning to evaluate brain and bodily activity during real-time social exchanges in individuals living with schizophrenia. This research explores the role of both neural and behavioural synchrony between interacting people to provide a comprehensive understanding of how communication is disrupted. Ultimately, this study aims to transform how social disability is approached, paving the way for more effective diagnostic and treatment strategies to improve patients’ quality of life.

Recruitment of participants for this study will begin soon.

This study is supported by Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. For more information, please contact
emmanuel.olarewaju@mail.mcgill.ca or info@ceymh-cesmj.ca

Language (1)
The Language and Ketamine study (LaKe)

The Language and Ketamine study (LaKe) is a research study examining the effects of ketamine on language and communication. Participants in this study will have been previously referred to the Douglas Ketamine Clinic to receive treatment. Ketamine treatment is generally well tolerated and extremely safe when administered with appropriate precautions and can produce a temporarily altered state of consciousness called “dissociative states”. We suspect this state may have a temporary effect on speech and aim to examine these changes through recorded speech tasks and a semi-structured interview.

Recruitment for this study is restricted to patients of the Douglas Hospital’s Ketamine Clinic.

This study is supported by Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives. For more information, please reach out to Research Assistant, farida.zaher@mail.mcgill.ca, or  info@ceymh-cesmj.ca

DISCOURSE in Psychosis – A global initiative studying thought, language, and communication disturbances in psychosis

DISCOURSE is a research consortium of over 210 investigators from around the world aimed at studying speech and language in people experiencing psychosis. A major symptom of psychosis and schizophrenia is an inability to communicate clearly which can manifest in various ways, such as the inability to develop goal-directed speech or poverty in the quality of speech. Measures studied by this group include relapse rates, clinical characteristics, and cognition, which are measured in both psychiatrically healthy control and patient groups. 

The DISCOURSE protocol is used in several of our studies, notably, IMPLEMENT, LAKE, MOTS+, MEGPSY, and BLOOM. 

This consortium is supported by Horizon Europe, the Wellcome Trust, and the Tannebaum Open Science Institute. For more information visit this link