The Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Mo ntréal, also known as the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and the Hospice Saint-Jean-de-Dieu until 1975, opened its doors in 1873. However, it was in 1982 that the Foundation of the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal was founded under the name of the Fondation Guillaume-Lahaise, in honour of the psychiatrist of the same name who practised at the  Saint-Jean-de-Dieu clinic from 1924 to 1958.

When the Foundation was created, its fundraising activities were limited to the sale of lottery tickets and bingo tournaments for the Institute’s staff.

In 1993, the year that the organisation adopted the name of the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine Foundation, new fundraising activities were created and quickly became popular. Over time, the Foundation has built a close relationship with the Institute and organised numerous events aimed primarily at staff.

The activities of the Foundation truly took off in 2004 when François Castonguay was named chair of the Board of Directors. Previously the president and chief executive officer of Uniprix Group, François helped the Foundation to raise awareness among the Montreal business community with regards to the cause of mental health, in particular, by creating the Foundation’s golf tournament.

In 2005, the Foundation made it into the big leagues by launching its very first major fundraising campaign whereby the Foundation raised close to 9 million dollars over a five-year period. Louis Vachon, the president of the National Bank, was named campaign president and Louis was able to successfully meet the challenge.

In 2011, the Quebec government gave the new name of Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal to the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and at the same time changed the name of the Foundation. The name of Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal Foundation came officially into being in March 2013.

Also in 2013, the Foundation, in partnership with the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation, the Mental Illness Foundation and Bell, created the Bal des lumières, the largest charity event held in Quebec for mental health.

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