RESEARCH

Research is the bedrock of discovery and will be a foundational component of this initiative. Drawing upon the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists from across UCalgary and AHS, Calgary is poised to provide international leadership that will benefit emerging adults here in our community and beyond.

 

With your help, the team will be better equipped to understand the relationship between biology and mental health, generate new knowledge and, ultimately, design better therapies. The team will engage families, collect and analyze data, and lead the charge to translate their discoveries into clinical practice.

This approach will serve to enhance capacity within our system, allowing frontline workers, clinics and partner agencies to deliver the latest evidence-based therapies to more emerging adults for a system-wide improvement that benefits us all. Youth, young adults and their families with lived experience of mental illness have a vital role to play, and will be engaged at all stages of research development in a cycle of innovation structured to help other young people now and for generations to come.

The research framework will at first consist of four key projects.

STAGED CARE

This will be the evaluation of a new, individualized model of care to help emerging adults who are at high risk for severe mental illness. Treatments will be tailored based on the severity of symptoms for better outcomes.

TRANSDIAGNOSTIC INTERVENTION

Experts will implement and test a more flexible method of intervention that can be delivered virtually or in person to treat emerging adults with anxiety and depression.

tDCS is a safe, non-invasive and inexpensive method for stimulating the brain, with therapeutic potential for a range of serious mental health concerns in emerging adults, including suicidal and self-harm behaviours. The research will test early intervention with tDCS as a means to prevent progression to more serious illnesses.

NEW SOMATIC SYMPTOM

DISORDER PATHWAY

Youth and young adults with somatic symptom disorders represent a severely impaired group of people who are intensely challenged by physical symptoms. Experts will evaluate a combined approach to their care, involving both adolescent medicine and psychiatry.

TRANSCRANIAL DIRECT CURRENT

STIMULATION (tDCS)

Putting research at the fore will provide experts a window into the long-term trajectories of mental health in emerging adults, and with new biological, clinical and psychosocial data, allow them to build new predictive models that will enhance care and enable precision medicine. In a space where leading mental health services are seamlessly integrated with research, experts will be better equipped to shorten the timeline between innovative ideas and positive outcomes. Together, care providers and scientists will be equipped to meet the changing needs of emerging adults and provide better treatments faster, with lifelong impacts for these young people, their families, and our communities.