Education & Outreach

Family and Friends Day

What is Family and Friends Day?

CAN-BIND Family and Friends Day is an annual initiative that celebrates CAN-BIND study participants, past and present, in the company of loved ones. Research participants are crucial to the success of clinical studies and to advancing our knowledge about depression and treatment response. To recognize their contributions, CAN-BIND holds this annual event, which features study updates, special guest speakers, and interactive activities (e.g. art therapy, physical exercise and meditation workshops) that emphasize wellness and depression management. The event is open to all members of the general public who are interested in learning about depression research. This initiative will expand beyond Toronto to other Canadian cities in the future.

Who leads this initiative?

This initiative is led by Dr. Shane McInerney and events are coordinated by Anum Shivji Arwani, CAN-BIND Outreach Coordinator.


What are the main goals of this initiative?


Express Appreciation for Research Participants

  • The primary goal of this initiative is to express appreciation for CAN-BIND’s research participants. A block of event tickets is held specifically for research participants and their family and friends. There are many opportunities throughout the event to connect with other study participants and members of the CAN-BIND clinical, research and outreach teams.

Increase Awareness of Depression

  • Family and Friends Day aims to increase the dialogue about depression within the community to help decrease stigma. The third annual event was held on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 to support Bell Canada’s national anti-stigma campaign. Each year, study participants and persons with lived experience of depression are invited to participate as guest speakers and share stories of courage, overcoming challenges and hope.

Share Knowledge about Latest Depression Research Findings

  • CAN-BIND Study Leads are invited to share their latest research findings through this initiative. Family and Friends Day provides a platform for community members and researchers to exchange knowledge and insights that will shape the direction of future research studies.

Past Events

2019 Family & Friends Day
Date: March 20th, 2019

Theme: Brain Health and Wellness in Depression

Info: Now in its fourth year, Family and Friends Day is a free, annual outreach event. At this appreciation event, we shared research updates and resource tools, and hosted hands-on wellness workshops and information booths for our study participants, their loved ones and the wider community. For more information, click here.

2018 Family & Friends Day
Date: January 31, 2018

Theme: Exercise, Nutrition & Wellness in Depression

Highlights: This evening event, which was held on Bell Let’s Talk Day, featured martial arts and chair yoga workshops, research and lived experience guest speaker presentations and a ‘fair style’ networking session with fifteen engaging research and outreach booths to facilitate connections between the public and members of the depression research community.

2017 Family & Friends Day
Date: March 20, 2017

Theme: Art & Science in the Treatment of Depression

Highlights: This morning event featured music performances from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, and artwork by Creative Works Studio, an inner city health program at St. Michael’s Hospital promoting healing through artistic expression. In addition to research updates from study leads, the event featured two guest presentations from past participants of the CAN-BIND-1 study, who described how music and art influenced their mental health journeys and shared their experiences as research participants. The 2017 Family and Friends Day logo was designed in collaboration with a CAN-BIND study participant.

Family and Friends Logo

2016 Family & Friends Day

The inaugural Family & Friends Day focused on updates from the CAN-BIND-1 study and the future of mobile health or “m-Health” for depression. The event also featured a guest presentation from a CAN-BIND-1 study participant and Ann Marie MacDonald, the Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO).

Do you have a suggestion for the next annual Family and Friends Day? Get in touch here.