Dr. Nicole Racine awarded $1.2M project grant through CIHR’s Mental Health in the Early Years initiative


Ottawa, Ontario — Thursday May 4, 2023

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $6.5 million over five years for six projects funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Mental Health in the Early Years (MHITEY) initiative. MHITEY, led by the CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, will help to advance Canada’s mental health strategy by identifying solutions for safe and equitable programs and services for diverse populations, and through adopting, adapting and improving the use of evidence-based practices in clinical, community, and public health settings. 

Read the CIHR news release to learn more about MHITEY. 

Breaking the Cycle team looks to optimize mental health for infants exposed to early adversity 

 Project: Optimizing Mental Health for Infants Exposed to Early Adversity: A Comparative Effectiveness and Implementation Study of the “Breaking the Cycle” Program 

Grant Amount: $1,215,660 over five years 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicole RacineDr. Nicole Racine speaking at CIHR MHITEY funding announcement

 One in three Canadian children is exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including abuse, neglect, and family violence. During early childhood when the foundation for lifelong mental health is established, exposure to ACEs is particularly harmful.  

 Risk factors for ACEs, such as income loss, family stress, and maternal substance use, have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to the urgent need for effective prevention and intervention approaches. 

 Breaking the Cycle (BTC) is an award-winning program that serves substance-using mothers and their young children at risk for exposure to ACEs. BTC is a one-of-a-kind program in Canada for substance-using mothers that specifically targets the mental health of young children and the mother-child relationship.  

 Research has shown that BTC leads to positive outcomes for mothers, including decreased substance use, mental health difficulties, and stress. This project aims to understand whether BTC leads to enhanced mental health outcomes for infants and young children, how the program works, and the long-term cost savings associated with BTC. The team will also identify strategies for scaling and implementing the Breaking the Cycle program in other communities. This project will position Canada as an international leader in infant mental health and improve mental health outcomes for children exposed to ACEs. 

Learn more about Dr. Racine’s MHITEY project.

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