A painted illustration shows five diverse people in the foreground, representing mental health conditions across communities, with a central person representing hope. A large, bright pink brain with yellow and pink swirls is in the background.


Mental Health Initiative for Stress and Trauma

What is MIST?

The Mental Health Initiative for Stress and Trauma (MIST) was created at the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at the University of Calgary’s renowned Hotchkiss Brain Institute to transform tragedy into positive action. MIST explores how emotional stress and physical trauma impact the brain, and how these affect mental health conditions and psychiatric illnesses. MIST also increases public education about stress, brain trauma and emotional health — and is building a community dedicated to destigmatizing mental health challenges.

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Mike McClay's legacy

MIST was created to honour Mike McClay by expanding and deepening neuroscience research to save the lives of others like him.

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MIST research

MIST is investigating the effects that stress and trauma have on the brain and unlocking new treatments for better outcomes.

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Get involved

Interested in volunteering, donating, collaborating or staying up to date with research advancements? There is a place for you here at MIST.

The MIST research team, including Dr. Keith Yeates, Dr. Chantel Debert, Dr. Leah Mayo, Dr. Alex Lohman, Dr. Matthew Hill, Dr. Araba Chintoh, and Dr. Alex McGirr pose for a group photo.

MIST Chair and research team

Dr. Matthew Hill, the inaugural MIST Chair, and the MIST research team are changing neuroscience research through transdisciplinary collaboration and innovative research strategies.

Meet the MIST team

MIST is working to fill the gap

Through MIST, we will examine how pre-existing stress can influence the outcomes of concussions and, vice versa, how concussions can impact the way stress is processed and how this can lead to mental health conditions. It’s not something that’s currently well understood, and MIST is working to fill the gap.

Headshot of Dr. Matthew Hill, PhD

Dr. Matthew Hill, PhD

MIST Research Chair

Dr. Alex McGirr demonstrates transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on his graduate student, Jaeden Cole. McGirr is holding a small black device up against Jaeden's head.

Philanthropy is at the heart of MIST

With philanthropy at its heart and the support of donors like you, MIST has raised nearly $5 million in just two years.

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Education and resources

Central to MIST’s mission is the translation of science into action through public education efforts to broaden mental health knowledge, destigmatize mental health challenges and improve mental wellbeing for all.

Explore our resources

UCalgary is the place to start something. And MIST started here.

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Join the MIST community

Learn about our latest events, news and research advances when you sign up.

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