Canada's largest mental health hospital has been given $100 million by an anonymous donor, with the goal of developing cures for psychiatric conditions that affect almost seven million Canadians.

The gift to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto will create the Discovery Fund to support next-generation scientists conducting research aimed at directly transforming care. CAMH says it is the largest donation made toward mental health research in Canadian history.

CAMH president and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn said the money will be invested in fundamental research and clinical innovation to improve the mental health of individuals in Canada and around the world.

Zahn said the fund will enable CAMH to develop the next generation of leading early- and mid-career scientists.

The money will also allow CAMH to foster research focused on understanding disease mechanisms, improving diagnosis, and new ways to predict, prevent and recover from mental illness.

Darrell Louise Gregersen, head of the CAMH Foundation, said such philanthropy is helping to change the future of mental illness.

"We are eternally grateful to this donor for investing $100 million in our capacity to generate world-leading discovery, and to invest in some of the high-risk, high-reward research that usually doesn't get top funding priority," she said.

At the CAMH announcement, a former patient of the facility shared his personal story of struggling and overcoming clinical depression and the importance of research to advance mental healthcare.

"No one knows what the next breakthrough treatment of mental illness will be, but we all know that it is donations such as this one that will make it possible," said Tom Churchill. 

"I send a heartfelt thanks to the donor… thanks from me and thanks on behalf of all the people who this funding will help over the coming years."

With files from CBC News