Innovation Strategy: Equipping Canadians – Mental Health Throughout Life

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

On this page

From 2009 to 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada's Innovation Strategy (PHAC-IS) funded projects under the stream of "Equipping Canadians - Mental Health Throughout Life." These projects worked to promote mental health and well-being for individuals, families, and communities across Canada through innovative and evidence-based programming.

Areas of focus

Funded projects focused on one or more of the following areas:

  • family-level interventions
    • parenting skills
    • early childhood development
  • school-based interventions that taught social and emotional skills
  • community-based interventions
    • focus on supporting culturally safe and appropriate mental health promotion for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities

Projects were funded using the phased funding approach from the PHAC-IS. A total of 15 mental health promotion projects were funded in Phase 1 (design and testing), with 9 projects progressing to Phase 2 (full implementation and evaluation) and 4 projects moving to Phase 3 (sustainability and scale up).

Over the 3 phases, projects engaged:

  • over 1.7 million Canadians
  • community members in over 800 communities
  • 10 provinces
  • 3 territories
  • 75,000 stakeholders, including:
    • community decision makers
    • policy decision makers
    • health practitioners

Phase 3 funded projects

The Fourth R: Promoting Youth Well-Being through Healthy Relationships

Targeting youth in grades 7-12, the Fourth R program suggests that knowledge and skills for relationships should be taught the same way as the "three R's": reading, writing, and arithmetic. The program addresses adolescent risk behaviours and violence from bullying, dating, and peer or group violence by focusing on relationship goals and challenges that influence decision making.

The program is run by Western University and the Centre for School Mental Health in London, Ontario.

Scaling Up Social and Emotional Learning Programs in Atlantic Canada

The "Socially and Emotionally Aware Kids" program uses school-based programing to help children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 recognize and manage emotions.

Grounded in social and emotional learning, the program helps children:

  • develop care and concern for others
  • decrease aggressive behaviour
  • make responsible and ethical decisions
  • build positive relationships

The program is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia Division, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Listening to One Another to Grow Strong: Culturally Based, Family Centred Mental Health Promotion for Indigenous Youth

This intervention is a 14-session group experiential learning program for Indigenous children aged 10-14 and their parents and caretakers. It aims to promote mental health and contribute to the prevention of suicide-related behaviours among Indigenous youth. The program's curriculum is meant for autonomous delivery by Indigenous facilitators with experience in mental health. Lessons include themes like socioemotional skills, anger management, child-parent communication, and peer pressure.

This program is run by The Culture and Mental Health Research Unit of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, affiliated with the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, located in Montreal, Quebec. A version of this program is also being created to allow its implementation in school settings.

Handle with Care: Promoting Mental Health of Young Children in Communities At-risk for Mental Health Problems – Scaling Up

Handle with Care is an 8-session program targeting parents and caregivers to promote the mental health of children from birth to 6 years old.

The program provides:

  • simple and interactive strategies
  • group or one-on-one session delivery
  • cultural adaptation by trained local facilitators

Handle with Care addresses themes including attachment, trust, self-esteem, expressing emotions, and relationships.

The program is run by SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (formerly the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre) in Toronto, Ontario.

Page details

Date modified: