About Medical Psychiatry Alliance

Holding patient's hand

The Medical Psychiatry Alliance (MPA), the first-of-its-kind in Canada, is a collaborative partnership whose goal is to transform mental health care. Supported by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), The Hospital for Sick Children, Trillium Health Partners (THP) and the University of Toronto (U of T) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and an extraordinarily generous donor, the Alliance is dedicated to transforming the delivery of mental health services for patients who suffer from physical and psychiatric illness or medically unexplained symptoms.

In Ontario, 1.3 million people suffer from co-morbid physical and mental health illness. In many cases, treatment of these patients fails because our health care system is designed to focus on either physical or mental illness but not both at the same time. As a result, physical symptoms with a mental health origin often go unaddressed. Similarly, debilitating mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety can continue indefinitely because they may in fact be the result of physical ailments. The lack of an integrated approach perpetuates the condition.

To meet the challenge of treating people with co-morbidities and to effect system-wide change, we are creating an unprecedented network of excellence through the Medical Psychiatry Alliance. The MPA will create a new model of integrated care that is supported by a new approach to the education of health professionals and through innovations driven by research.

Established in January 2014 through a $60 million grant, the MPA has a six-year mandate. During this time, the MPA aims to:

  • Improve quality of life and increase life expectancy for those with serious, simultaneous mental and physical illnesses, while reducing the burden of illness on families, the healthcare system and society
  • Create a new model of clinical care to support patients with co-occurring mental and physical illnesses
  • Teach current and future health professionals how to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental and physical illness
  • Deepen our understanding of the interaction between body and brain regarding co-occurring mental and physical illnesses