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The Foundation: 1980 to present



Founded by Dr. Yves Lamontagne, who was then head of the Psychiatry Department at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine. Awarding of several fellowships to francophone scholars in Quebec.


Inauguration of the Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin, named in honour of the well-known popular science writer.


Creation of the Partners for Life program (in French) for high-school students across Quebec to raise their awareness of the main symptoms of depression and promote prevention through screening.


The “Depression: it’s an illness and it’s treatable” campaign through which the Foundation expanded its awareness activities by going where people are: On STCUM metros and buses, a network used by 500,000 people per day.


More than 60 bursaries and prizes have been granted in the last 10 years to Quebec organizations, among others, offering respite to the families of those who are ill, guidance in hospitalization procedures, supervised apartments and adapted work centres.


Launch of Nothing's Working?, a program for employees and managers from small and large enterprises, designed to detect mental health problems and encourage adults to consult a professional to obtain adequate treatment. 

The Mental Illness Foundation’s first Emotions Ball that brought together almost 800 attendees. With Mila Mulroney as honorary chairperson, the evening helped grow awareness about mental illness within the business community and raised close to half a million dollars. Since it was initiated, the Emotions Ball has been held every two years, in 2005 and 2007 to date.


Foundation’s first major awareness campaign. It included a public interest message for television and radio, large format posters, an advertising insert and advertising on the Web. The goal was to foster a better understanding of what people with depression experience and change existing perceptions about them, in addition to providing the Foundation with extensive visibility. 


Foundation’s second major global awareness campaign. This campaign, which gave the Foundation broad visibility, was designed to address the impact of mental illness on the person who is ill and on the people close to them so that the public understands that “It's Urgent to Act.”


Foundation launches the Seniors in Mind program, which aims to educate seniors, caregivers, advocates and health care professionals about depression and anxiety among older adults through free training courses and conferences.


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Founding President

Dr. Yves Lamontagne 

Founding president
President from 1980 to 1991

In 1980, Dr. Yves Lamontagne, then director of the Research Centre at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, created the Mental Illness Foundation, which was known as the Fondation québécoise pour la recherche sur les maladies mentales. At the time, the Foundation’s objective was to give researchers in Quebec a centre where they could further their knowledge of psychiatric disorders without having to go abroad. Under his leadership, the Foundation collected the funds needed to build the Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin, which was inaugurated on September 23, 1992. 

Upon completing his medical studies, Dr. Lamontagne worked in Africa as the head of the camps for Biafran children during the devastating conflict in that region. He then undertook studies in psychiatry, which he completed at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. In addition to authoring nearly 200 articles in Canadian, American and European medical journals, he has published 34 books and contributed 30 chapters in other works. Over the years, he has simultaneously pursued careers in research, education, communication and administration. 

Dr. Lamontagne’s work has earned him more than 25 awards and decorations of honour in Quebec, Canada and the United States, including the Order of Canada in 1988, the National Order of Québec in 1996 and the 2001 Medal of Merit from the Association des médecins de langue française du Canada. In 2003, he was named “Grand Montréalais” by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, and in 2008, he received the medal of the Ordre du mérite de l'Association des diplômés de l'Université de Montréal.

Elected president of the Collège des médecins du Québec in October 1998 and re-elected in October 2002, Dr. Lamontagne was initially a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, and president of the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec. 

More than 25 years have passed since the first Board of Directors gathered and he is still with us. He even ventures to regale the audience with a few songs at some of Foundation’s benefit shows. To this day, Dr. Lamontagne remains one of the key pillars supporting the achievements of the Mental Illness Foundation, and the Foundation would like to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to him.

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Previous presidents

Dr. Martin Tremblay, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2009 t 2012

Dr. Martin Tremblay has served the Foundation from January 2009 to September 2012. In addition to being a psychiatrist, he has multiple functions within the medical community. He served as co-director of the Clinique Expertise Neurosciences and is head of the internal Département de psychiatrie at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Montréal (CHUM). Under his leadership, the Foundation launched its scientist spokespeople to increase awareness as well as the Seniors in Mind program.

Jocelyne Monty

Chairperson from 2002 to 2008

Under Jocelyne Monty, the Foundation was able to realize many great achievements, among others, the funding of the Partners for Life program, the creation of the Ambassadors Committee and holding three Emotions balls, one of the Foundation’s signature fundraising events. Mrs. Monty is also honorary co-chair of the Foundation fundraising campaign “It’s Urgent to Act!”


Gaétan Marois

Chairman from 2000 to 2001

In 2000, Gaétan Marois became chairman of the Board of Directors. His priority: develop the Nothing's Working? program and work on implementing it in the workplace, convinced that the program could respond adequately to existing needs.

Wilfrid Hénault

Chairman from 1997 to 1999

Wilfrid Hénault had been on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for 14 years when, at the request of Yves St-Amand, he became its chair in 1997. Particularly worth mentioning was his commitment to what would eventually become the Partners for Life program.

Yves St-Amand

Chairman from 1993 to 1997

During the 20 years he sat on the Board of Directors, Yves St-Amand was one of the Foundation’s primary resources with respect to positioning, strategic thinking and communications. He was its chair from 1993 to 1997, and when he passed away in May 2006, the Foundation lost a valuable partner. 

André Caillé

Chairman in 1991

In January 1991, André Caillé took over from Dr. Lamontagne as chairman of the Foundation and put his network of contacts to work for the major corporate fundraising campaign to support the construction of the Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin.