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HRI Talks are free public talks aimed at powering progress in mental health and addiction. These events will be held virtually, enabling people from across the world to participate in important conversations about mental health, substance use and the value of science in finding solutions to these public health crises.

At HRI Talks, we share new ideas, discoveries, and studies that are helping to transform the mental health and substance use landscape in Canada and beyond. Speakers include scientists, clinicians, researchers, and people with lived and living expertise who are working to address some of our nation’s most pressing mental health and substance use challenges.

HRI Talks are for anyone who shares our vision: No life held back or cut short by mental illness or substance use issues.

Is your organization interested in partnering with us as a sponsor for HRI Talks?  Please contact Kaili Hilkewich, Manager of Revenue Development, to discuss sponsorship opportunities and benefits.

Upcoming Talk

Mind the Gaps: Navigating Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders
(June 7, 2023)

In Canada, one in three people will experience mental illness in their lifetime and despite the prevalence of concurrent disorders, people who live with them tend to be under-diagnosed and under-treated. Concurrent disorders are defined as co-occurring substance use disorders with other mental health conditions.

Currently, there is a lack of understanding about the unique needs of people with concurrent disorders and in this HRI Talk, we will investigate this phenomenon.

Past Talks

Why Community Matters: The Role of Connection in Substance Use Health
(March 23, 2023)

Why does having the support of a community affect a person’s journey to wellness? Join us to learn about the latest research on the importance of community for people living with substance use issues.

In this HRI Talk, our panelists explored the critical role of social support and connection in substance use health. We discussed how reducing stigma, and increasing empathy, can have an immensely positive effect on the health and wellness of people living with substance use issues.

Trauma and Moral Injury: Making the Invisible Wound Visible (January 26, 2023)

Moral injury is a specific type of psychological trauma that can affect healthcare workers, public safety personnel, military members and veterans, and others. Many now live with the harsh consequences of moral injury. It can cause tremendous suffering, producing feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, betrayal and anxiety.

In this HRI Talk, Dr. Ruth Lanius led a discussion on moral injury/distress and explored the emerging science that enables us to understand what’s happening in the brain and how to better treat individuals suffering from moral injury.

Psychedelics as Medicine: Promises and Realities (October 12, 2022)

Are you curious about psychedelics and their potential for improving mental health and substance use health? In this HRI Talk, we explored emerging evidence about the use of psychedelic therapies in the treatment of mental illness and addictions.

Our panelists shared findings from a comprehensive review of recent studies that examined a range of themes, including Indigenous perspectives, treatment outcomes, health and safety, and implications for public health and policy.

Make Your Voice Heard…Digital Health Apps: What Works and What Doesn’t?
(June 23, 2022)

In this free public event, we sought your input on digital mental health and substance use health care. From mindfulness and meditation apps to gamified tools and virtual therapy programs, the objective of this event was to capture public input about what’s working and where improvements can be made. Together we aim to gain new perspectives on mental health and substance use health apps and digital tools.

The Story Science Tells: COVID-19, Addiction and Mental Health
(March 30, 2022)

In this HRI Talk, Dr. James MacKillop explored recent discoveries about COVID-19, mental health and substance use, including drinking and cannabis use. He shared evidence of resilience and findings that can guide resource allocation to help people living with mental illness and addiction. This is a free, public event. A moderated discussion was followed by a live Q&A with audience members.

Mysteries of the Microbiome: Exploring the Gut-Brain Connection (January 26, 2022)

In this free public talk, microbial ecologist Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe introduced us to the mysteries of the microbiome and the many roles that microbes play in human health. Drawing from her own work and recent literature, she shared emerging knowledge about the fascinating connection between microbiome health and brain patterning, mood and human behaviour.

Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment in Canada: Are People Getting Better? (November 3, 2021)

In this HRI Talks event, Rita Notarandrea (CCSA), Dr. Kim Corace (The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre), Dr. Jean Costello (HRI) and Dr. Brian Rush (HRI) discussed the value of measuring treatment progress and long-term outcomes for people using mental health and substance use services. We discussed how progress-monitoring systems enable timely improvements to treatment. Finally, we shared news about exciting work already underway to advance these efforts in Ontario and answer questions from the audience.

Trauma: The Next Pandemic? (September 14, 2021)

In this HRI Talks event, Dr. Margaret McKinnon and Dr. Alexandra Heber explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted healthcare workers, first responders, and public safety workers. We shared insights from new research and discuss projects underway to provide better help for those impacted by trauma and moral injury during the pandemic. A recording of the event is available online.

Get the latest news about our mental health and addiction research.