News - Mar 2017

We’re Making a Scene for Mental Health: An Evening with Shelley Marshall

Click image to visit www.supporthri.caTo celebrate Mental Health Week 2017, Homewood Health Centre proudly presents a special event to raise funds for the vital research that the Homewood Research Institute (HRI) is conducting to address the mounting crisis of mental illness related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

On May 1, please join us for an unforgettable one-night-only showing of Hold Mommy’s Cigarette, a hilarious, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting one-woman play by acclaimed actor and comedienne, Shelley Marshall. Shelley takes audiences on a raucous adventure through her real-life experience growing up in a dysfunctional environment fraught with depression, trauma and suicide, and her remarkable journey toward a life of purpose and fulfillment. An unrelenting mental health advocate, Shelley gives hope to audiences and inspires positive change everywhere she goes.

This performance takes place at Guelph’s beautiful downtown venue, River Run Centre, and will raise funds for the Shelley Marshall Scholarship, a fund named in Shelley’s honour that will support applied research aimed at improving the lives of people living with PTSD.

Tickets are available now through the River Run Centre Box Office.

For further information, including show time, and details about a pre-show fundraiser, HRI’s PTSD research team, sponsorship opportunities, and a profile of our Honorary Chair, Andy MacDonald, General Manager of Emergency Services at the City of Guelph, please visit the event website,

We hope you will join us for this enlightening evening in downtown Guelph, as we work toward improvements in mental health practice and to improve care for all Canadians.

This performance contains adult content.

Presenting Sponsor:
Homewood Health Centre logo




Click for a full list of our generous sponsors

HRI Releases Early Findings from Post-Discharge Outcome Evaluation

Does mental health and addiction treatment really work?

This is one of the most common questions that clinicians, patients and families have when considering admission to a treatment facility. And this is why HRI, in collaboration with Homewood Health Centre, has developed an outcome monitoring system – the first of its kind in Canada — to measure the outcomes of patients who receive treatment at the Health Centre. Through our research and evaluation studies, we aim to answer this question and – more importantly – to inform continuous improvement efforts in mental health and addiction treatment.

Treatment success can be measured in a number of ways. For patients seeking treatment in the Addiction Medicine Service (AMS) at Homewood Health Centre, one method is to examine how alcohol consumption changes over a defined period of time.

To do this, HRI has implemented a comprehensive outcome monitoring system in the AMS at the Health Centre. We collect and analyze data from patients who have agreed to complete questionnaires at the time of admission, again at discharge and at one, three, six and 12 months post-discharge. Patients who choose to participate answer questions relating to many different life domains, including substance use; psychological, physical, social, and occupational wellness; daily life functioning; engagement in continuing care activities; and overall quality of life or life satisfaction.

To generate initial findings about changes in alcohol consumption, we examined the percentage of days that participants abstained (PDA) from alcohol, comparing pre-treatment to post-treatment data in order to explore how drinking behaviours change from before admission to post-discharge.

The figure below (Figure 1) presents PDA from alcohol in the 90 days prior to admission and PDA in the past 30 days at each follow-up time-point. Participants who did not consume alcohol in the 90 days prior to treatment or in the past 30 days at a follow-up time point were considered 100 percent days abstinent.PDO figure

Figure 1 shows that PDA from alcohol greatly increased from before treatment to one-month post-discharge (i.e., that participants reported consuming alcohol on significantly fewer days following treatment). PDA remained high at all subsequent follow-up time points.

These early findings represent data collected from AMS patients who participated in the outcome monitoring system in fiscal year 2016. Evaluations are ongoing and will be rolled out in other programs. A unique system in Canadian healthcare, HRI’s outcome evaluation project allows for continued, rigorous evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of mental health and addiction treatment at Homewood.

As HRI’s outcome monitoring evaluations advance, we will continue to share findings from other domains. If you would like to receive future research updates, please subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, HRI Connects.

Partnership Will Fund Research to Aid Military Members and Veterans

Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience difficulties in performing tasks that rely on cognitive ability, such as memory, attention, or learning. Such difficulties undermine treatment efforts and have also been associated with poor functional outcomes, including difficulty returning to work.

Trauma-related mental illness is of particular relevance to military, where urgent calls exist to address the mounting crisis of mental illness, and in particular PTSD, in these populations.


Left to right: Roy Cameron, Executive Director, Homewood Research Institute; Margaret McKinnon, Associate Co-Chair, Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Homewood Senior Scientist; Theresa Hacking, President, Military Casualty Support Foundation; Rob Schlegel, CFO Schlegel Health Care Inc.; Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group.

In 2016, representatives of The Cowan Foundation, Schlegel Health Care Incorporated, the Military Casualty Support Foundation and Homewood Research Institute identified a shared priority for research on interventions that could improve transitions from military to civilian employment. A partnership between the four organizations was established to fund a study proposed by Homewood Senior Scientist, Dr. Margaret McKinnon, which will examine the efficacy of a novel cognitive training program called Goal Management Training (GMT) in improving cognitive functioning among military members and veterans with PTSD.

GMT aims to help participants build skills in performing behaviours that rely on basic cognitive processes, such as planning, organization and achieving goals for everyday functioning. As part of this research study, a nine-week course of Goal Management Training will be offered free of charge to military members and veterans. Pre-and post-testing will examine the impact of GMT on cognitive functioning, psychological status and functional outcomes.

“This novel form of treatment extends beyond traditional approaches,” explains Dr. McKinnon.

“GMT focuses on memory, attention and other cognitive functions that typically go unaddressed following the onset of PTSD.”

Longer-term impacts of Dr. McKinnon’s research may include the application of similar clinical interventions to address PTSD in police and first responders. This study is helping to launch a national network lead by HRI, to further advance the development of novel treatment approaches for those with PTSD.

If you would like to receive future research updates, please subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, HRI Connects.