The number of people suffering from mental illness, related service and care demands, and the economic and emotional impact are growing dramatically around the world.

In 2004, a group in Canada composed of psychiatrists, lawyers, ethicists, mental health care professionals and hospital administrators began meeting to explore the possibility of developing an instrument that might assist caregivers struggling with the inevitable ethical challenges encountered in clinical work. On a review of the existing literature, and after consultation with experts in the field, we have become convinced that there is an important academic and clinical need that can be well served by this journal format.


The journal is intended to serve academics, health practitioners, students, family members, caregivers, consumers, and policy makers. We wish it to be a forum for healthy academic and policy debate, but further hope that by design and editorial policy we can produce a tool that is both practical and helpful for frontline workers.


We encourage a diversity of perspective and international stance on mental health practice and policy. Our potential topic list is extensive and we are open to new and innovative issue exploration.


Articles must be brief and concise. Case studies, reflection pieces, legal discussions, and questions that challenge us to reflect on how we may better serve the most vulnerable among us are welcome.


As a matter of principle, the journal will have no corporate advertising or sponsorship. We will be relying on conference revenues, foundation grants, and personal donations to support this non-profit project.


We are further committed to the principle of broad and easy accessibility, and so we have chosen to publish the journal online and make it available free of charge worldwide. All readers and institutions are welcome to download and print out any journal content.


Managing, copy-editing, and administrative functions for the journal are initially being hosted by the Whitby Mental Health Centre. WMHC is committed to modeling and fostering best practices and care through timely and relevant educational resource development for frontline mental health workers.

Opened in 1919, WMHC provides a range of specialized, tertiary care mental health programs to 320 inpatients, 1200 outpatient. WMHC's specialized regional psychiatric services are available to a catchment area consisting of 2.5 million residents living in northeast and east Toronto, Durham and York Regions, and the City of Kawartha Lakes.


It was felt that the best way to publish the journal was in partnership with a respected university that shares our principled commitment to unencumbered access, and that recognizes the world-wide movement towards, and attendant benefits of, effective e-learning. Accordingly, we were very honoured to be publishing the journal in association with McMaster University, a world leader in medical education, from 2006 to 2017.


In parallel with the journal, we will be hosting a conference on “Ethics in Mental Health” every two years. In addition to fostering direct networking we hope this meeting will stimulate new thinking and transform practice patterns. Papers presented at these conferences may be published in a subsequent issue of the journal.