The Royal's 2020-2021 Annual Report

    CHIEF Executive OFFICER

    Joanne Bezzubetz

    Co-creating access, hope and new possibilities

    Growth in the time of pandemic

    I am honoured to present The Royal’s 2020-2021 annual report. Our theme is Co-creating access, hope and new possibilities. This is aligned with the strategy we recently released. It also felt like the best way to define such an unprecedented year. While our world grappled with managing COVID-19, The Royal worked shoulder-to-shoulder with clients, families and community partners to develop tools that inspired hope and enabled access resulting in new possibilities for clients and our community. Even in the most challenging environment, our clinicians, scientists, staff, physicians, volunteers, clients, caregivers and community partners collaborated to nimbly solve pressing issues and ensure that continuity of care was maintained regardless of restrictions and barriers.


    Our ability to deliver on our mission is so dependent on our relationships. The support from our stakeholders allowed us to forge ahead thoughtfully with key initiatives, programs and services, particularly the development of our strategy. The Royal is a resilient entity, but the extra support gave us the lift needed to achieve more than we thought possible. From our clients and families to our donors and board members, the community that empowers The Royal is strong and rich in expertise. Together, we are serving more clients, in more ways. And, we couldn’t achieve even half of that without the support of our community.


    Times of unrest have often been times of great transformation. And, I wonder if it has something to do with an increase in hope. This year, hope led us to innovate new ways to deliver mental health and addictions care. Hope drove us to continue forward with the strategic planning process. Hope inspired our researchers and powered our clients and their families through the journey of recovery. At The Royal, we leveraged it like a powerful asset and saw the return pay off in tremendous ways reminding us that in our pursuit of delivering modern, impactful care, we can’t discount the power of hope.


    As I look ahead to 2021-2022, I am excited to see our strategy at work. We will continue the process of engagement and co-design to ensure that our transformation is inclusive of the expertise available to us through our community. No organization will be the same as it was before COVID-19 hit, because the world is irrevocably different. The Royal, and our partners in the mental health and addictions space, will be called to support an ever growing demand for services. This year has taught us that we are well positioned to take on the challenges of the future. Our power is in our people and together, we will rise to the occasion, just as we did so many times this year, remaining a beacon of light that inspires hope and the possibility of brighter tomorrows.


    Joanne Bezzubetz

    President and Chief Executive Officer


    Anne Graham

    Honouring our journey, people and community

    The things we learned caring through a pandemic

    This year served as a powerful teacher. It taught us resilience, empathy and reinforced the importance of raising the voices of those often unheard. It taught us about the power of working across the system to enact change and solve new and old challenges. Most importantly, it taught us that together, we can manage the unmanageable while still creating healing spaces and caring for individuals, and each other, during some of the most difficult moments.


    I want to recognize the great efforts of our employees, physicians, clinicians, volunteers and leaders who carried The Royal through one of the most challenging years on record. This unprecedented situation tested our team members emotionally, mentally and physically. While I celebrate their perseverance and hard work, I also acknowledge the trials faced in caring for our community during a global pandemic. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t easy, but we are hopeful for calmer days ahead. I also want to honour our community—our clients, families, donors, board members, community partners and local supporters—who walked alongside us, shoulder-to-shoulder, providing support and guidance as we held onto hope for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. If our strength is measured by the passion of the people on our team and in our corner, then we are one of the strongest organizations operating today.


    One of the signature achievements of 2020-2021 was the launch of our
    new strategic direction,
    Co-creating access, hope and new possibilities. I remember the conversations around pressing pause or pushing forward with the strategy. We were in the early days of the pandemic, not knowing what the future had in store. We quickly recognized the need to drive transformation. And, so we continued forward, facilitated new innovations, provided focus around key initiatives and prepared The Royal to step into a new era of impactful care and research.


    The possibilities ahead of The Royal are great. The opportunity to build new connections across our organization and community to the benefit of our clients and families is thrilling. We have amazing people, the right expertise, and the right approach to make a significant and lasting mark on Canadian mental health care and I look forward to celebrating all that we will accomplish together in 2021-2022.


    Anne Graham

    Chair, Board of Trustees

  • The ROYAL's Institute of
    Mental Health research

    Through dedicated research focused on incubating innovation, improving treatment interventions, and advancing prevention strategies, The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research is bringing significant hope to people living with mental health and substance use disorders.

    Creating new possibilities through research

    Solidifying our role as a national leader in mental health and addictions care, research and education

    In 2020, the Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR) further solidified its role in positioning our academic health science center as a national leader in mental health and addiction. The Royal’s integrated strategy, Co-creating access, hope and new possibilities, sets new priorities to co-design and integrate research, education, care and lived expertise. The IMHR recognizes that the most expedient way to meet future needs is by converging diverse expertise to enable evidence-based diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health disorders. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our researchers have pivoted and designed research programs to address current and future needs—our research provides hope through the creation of new possibilities for those impacted by mental illness.


    Research at The Royal is home to a diverse community of passionate and experienced early career researchers who have dedicated their lives to shaping and improving the future of mental health care. With more than 130 ongoing research studies, involving 85 researchers, utilising state-of-the-art facilities, including the Brain Imaging Centre, we are demonstrating the value of our inquiries and collaborations. We want to recognize all our scientists, clinician researchers, learners, and staff for their foresight and unwavering commitment to unlocking the secrets of the brain—to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients, families, and communities.


    Florence Dzierszinski

    President of the Institute of Mental Health Research and Vice President of Research


    Steve West

    Chair, Institute of Mental Health Research Board



    The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health raises funds to support the best possible patient care and leading-edge research provided by the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the Brockville Mental Health Centre, and the Institute of Mental Health Research, affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

    Investing in expertise and empowering hope

    Donors shape the future of mental health research and care

    Looking back on an unprecedented year, each of us were challenged in some way by the pandemic experience that dominated every headline, conversation and decision which meant the need for mental health services in our community were and continue to be greater than ever. With your generous support, The Royal continues to lead the way in enhancing the quality of life and providing the best care for people living with a mental illness while remaining committed to constant innovation.


    It’s thanks to donors like you whose unwavering support allows us to provide new tools, strategies and technologies to enhance the quality of life and independence for friends, families and neighbours who live with a mental illness or substance use. Your investment in our expertise allows us to attract the best and brightest scientists to the Institute of Mental Health Research where a commitment to real-life research helps us transform care.


    On behalf of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health Board of Directors, we are so proud to represent an organization that remains focused on caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and is relentless in the pursuit to better understand the brain.


    Cynthia Little

    Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health


    Gord Cudney

    Acting Chair, Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health Board






    received in grants and contracts to further The Royal's exploration of mental health.



    raised by donors and corporate sponsors on behalf of The Royal. Of that number more than $1M was specifically invested to power mental health research.



    outpatient appointments provided through virtual platforms.



    active outpatients and 1,186 inpatients.



    in-person outpatient visits in the community.



    clients engaged in research through 130 ongoing research projects.



    hours volunteered by 140 volunteers.



    full and part-time employees.



    articles published.



    clinicians and scientists engaged in research at The Royal.



    percent increase in total number of donations and 39.3 percent increase in event attendance for the
    Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.



    clinical programs covering everything from community mental health to substance use disorders.


    The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. Our mandate is simple: to get more people living with mental illness into recovery faster. The Royal combines the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex and treatment-resistant mental illness.


    Our Vision

    Mental health care transformed through partnerships, innovation and discovery.


    Our Mission

    Delivering excellence in specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education.


    Our Values

    We are guided by innovation and a passionate commitment to collaboration, honesty, integrity and respect.

  • Read the rOYAL'S 2020-2025 strategy:

    Co-creating hope, access and new possibilities

    Through our 2020-2025 strategy, we will expand access, hope and new possibilities for people with mental health and addictions needs through the convergence of client and family-oriented care, science, education, and lived expertise.

  • Stories of access, hope and new possibilities


    Together, we accomplish so much more

    Thank you for helping us shape mental health research and care

    It took an incredible community to care for our clients and serve our community this year. We want to thank our staff, clinicians, physicians, board members, volunteers, donors, corporate partners, community partners, peer health care entities, champions and friends for their steadfast dedication to co-creating hope, access and new possibilities.


    Together, we are transforming mental health care and helping individuals with mental health and substance use disorders live their best life.


    Thank you.

  • Connect With Us