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University of Calgary: Calgarian invests $10 million in mental health

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - March 9, 2012) - The University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) has united with local businessman Ronald P. Mathison to create a centre dedicated to finding innovative treatments and providing early intervention for mental illness.

Located at the University of Calgary's Foothills Campus, The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education offers support and new hope to families in Calgary, throughout Alberta, and around the world. The centre was made possible by a $10 million investment from Mathison, president and CEO of Matco Investments Ltd.

"Through the power of partnership with our community, the University of Calgary is taking a leadership role in finding new solutions that will help transform peoples' lives," University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon said. "The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education is unique in Canada and will apply the university's world-class expertise in brain and neuroscience research to the problems of mental health."

"I look forward to seeing the many advancements in mental health education and research that Alberta is set to pioneer, thanks to this transformational gift from Ron and Tara Mathison, and seeing those advancements translate into better mental health for all Albertans," said Premier Alison Redford.

Most mental illness has its onset in late adolescence or early adulthood, hitting young people in the prime of their lives. It impacts their ability to complete an education, secure and keep a job, and maintain strong family ties.

"Mental health has long been ignored at great social and financial cost. It's time we start funding the research to make a real difference," said Ronald P. Mathison, President and CEO of Matco Investments Ltd. "Through my association with HBI and its impressive track record of accomplishments, I believe that the timing is right for this investment. I was motivated by the example Harley Hotchkiss, Dick Haskayne and so many others have set to get involved in a significant way and my focus was building in an area where a specific funding commitment could make a tangible and important difference."

Mental illness is debilitating - with one in five Canadians' personally experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime. It also contributes more to disability than any other disease, yet it is largely misunderstood and feared. Evidence shows that 75 per cent of mental illnesses and addictions begin before someone turns 24 years old and that suicide is the number two cause of death for people aged 15 to 24, second only to motor vehicle accidents.

"The Hotchkiss Brain Institute develops and supports state-of-the-art research and education programs that focus on neurological and mental health challenges," said Samuel Weiss, PhD, director of the HBI. "Prediction, prevention and early intervention are crucial for improving mental health - in particular for adolescents and young adults. This remarkable gift will support the talented researchers and clinicians at the Mathison Centre, who work collaboratively to enhance mental health care in our community."

The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction - "Eyes High" - to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community of Calgary. For more information, visit ucalgary.ca.

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