Our Approach

We support young people’s mental health and wellbeing by focusing on three key pillars:

LEARN: to understand the needs and drivers of young people’s mental health.

INVEST: to fund youth-led mental health innovation; and

MOBILIZE: to foster partnerships and create an ecosystem that allows for system-wide change to support youth wellbeing.

Young people are at the heart of our approach. They serve as program advisors, as key stakeholders in consultations, and youth-led organizations will be central to carrying out the work in each of the priority countries. By sharing what we learn from our pillars and connecting people and networks, we want to support and improve research, programs, and policies that help young people’s mental health and wellbeing everywhere.

What We Fund

We fund research, innovation, and ecosystem building focused on young people’s mental health and wellbeing in 12 priority countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Vietnam.

We believe those closest to the challenges can better identify needs and critical barriers and offer impactful and sustainable solutions. That’s why our research, innovation, and ecosystem building funding is guided by locally-driven landscape analyses and country consultations with youth, policymakers, local organizations, and mental health experts.

Beyond funding, we’re creating a learning and support community to share best practices, lessons, and our collective impact on global mental health. We support the scale and impact of funded organizations through dedicated technical support in monitoring and evaluation, stakeholder and youth engagement, fundraising, communications, and more.

Showcases how we support young people’s mental health through research, ecosystem building, and innovation guided by our landscape analyses and consultations.
A programmatic diagram depicting how the landscape analyses and country consultations we support will help inform all of the initiative’s funding and programming in research, innovation and ecosystem building.

Types of Funding


Country Consultations to determine young people’s mental health needs and drivers in each country, help build consensus around priorities for advocacy and funding, and guide funding priorities in research, innovation, and ecosystem building.

Longitudinal Studies in partnership with the Science for Africa Foundation to increase our understanding and anticipate the long-term impacts of emerging stressors, like emergencies, urban growth, pandemics, and climate change, on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Ecosystem Catalyst Funding

Ecosystem Catalyst Funding will help address priority barriers identified in the Country Consultations, such as legislation, evidence, coordination, and mobilize demand to help accelerate the scale and sustainability of mental health and wellbeing initiatives.

Innovation: Proof-of-Concept Funding  

Proof of Concept (POC) Funding will support early-stage projects that can implement, test and refine solutions to the factors identified by the Country Consultations impacting young people’s mental health and wellbeing in one of the 12 countries. With a focus on prevention and promotion, POC innovation funding ranges from social innovation to service delivery, product design, and more. What does this look like? Read some mental health POC funding examples on the Grand Challenges Canada website!

Innovation: Transition-To-Scale Funding

Transition-To-Scale (TTS) Funding will support tested mental health promotion and prevention approaches and organizations that align with the priorities identified through our Country Consultations along their scaling journey to help catalyze their sustainability and impact. We will use Grand Challenges Canada’s TTS investment framework, which supports innovators based on their progress, giving them the right amount of funding for their stage of development.

Policy and Advocacy

We aim to unite donors, funders, investors, governments, multilateral scaling partners, local intermediaries, and communities by promoting the ongoing exchange of new evidence, innovation and learnings to advance global dialogue and advocate for young people’s wellbeing.

As a global mental health initiative, we’re actively seeking new partnerships to expand our scope and create an ecosystem for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.