The aim of the program is to seed and transition to scale high impact innovations that support the mental health needs of underserved individuals, in particular young people, in low-and middle-income countries.
The Global Mental Health program seeks transformational, affordable, and accessible innovations that have the potential to be sustainable at a larger scale. They fund early-stage seed innovations that target youth mental health as well as later-stage Transition-to-Scale innovations addressing mental health challenges across the lifespan.
GRAND CHALLENGES CANADA / GRANDS DÉFIS CANADA (“Grand Challenges Canada”) is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. With funding from a variety of government partners and organizations, including Global Affairs Canada, our mission is to support innovation that saves and improves the lives of the most vulnerable in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and Canada. Our vision is a world in which innovation accelerates the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development
One of the largest impact-first investors in Canada, and with a feminist investment approach, Grand Challenges Canada has supported a pipeline of over 1,300 innovations in over 100 countries. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that these innovations have the potential to save up to 1.78 million lives and improve up to 64 million lives by 2030. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted in Toronto at the Sandra Rotman Centre at the University Health Network.
The aim of Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Mental Health Program is to seed and scale up, high impact innovations that support individual mental health needs in low and middle-income countries. With funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research – we relaunched our Global Mental Health program in 2019. With funding and support from Global Affairs Canada, we are launching the second round of funding to seed innovations to help young people’s mental health.
Grand Challenges Canada seeks bold ideas to meet the mental health needs of the most underserved 10 to 24 year olds. It wants culturally sensitive, community driven, innovative approaches to enhance mental health literacy and/or provide youth friendly services that account for the complex social and environmental factors contributing to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Approaches need to involve young people and young people with lived experiences of mental health challenges, from the start. COVID-19 poses new and unique mental health challenges, while also highlighting existing gaps in mental health services, supports and understanding.
Innovations should address ongoing and persistent mental health needs of the most underserved young people. Innovations must be bold, innovative, transformational, accessible to the most underserved young people, and have the potential to be sustainable at scale. It expects all innovations to take a person-centered, rights-based approach to mental health.
They’re particularly interested in innovations that:
- aim to support and amplify the voices of young people, in particular through the use of peer to peer models.
- tackle the outcomes of damaging gender norms and consider the mental health needs of people with diverse sexual and gender identities.
- support delivering mental health care through youth-friendly, non-health delivery mechanisms.
- meet people where they are by integrating mental health and/or wellbeing interventions into existing education or social care systems.
- creatively leverage technology that is highly used and trusted by young people, while considering rigorous monitoring and evaluation and tracking of priority outcomes.
There will be seed grants of up to $250,000 CAD over 18 or 24 months to develop and test innovations. Assuming a sufficient number of strong proposals, around 20 seed grants will be awarded.
By the end of the seed grant, innovators who have demonstrated proof of concept of the idea, have developed preliminary and feasible plans for scale and sustainability, and have attracted commitments from key stakeholders and partners, may be invited to apply for Transition to Scale program funding.
Projects need to take an Integrated Innovation® approach that coordinates scientific/technological, social, and business innovation, to develop ideas to complex challenges. This does not discount the singular benefits of each of these innovation types, but instead highlights the powerful synergies of aligning all three. Therefore, your idea should combine:
Scientific/technological innovation – has a base in the psychological, natural, health or behavioral sciences or in engineering or economics; can be simple as there is no requirement for high-tech solutions.
Social innovation – recognizes and/or addresses the broader social, structural and/or political determinants of health, with a particular focus on gender and intersectional inequalities; addresses local and/or cultural contexts that factor into implementation and scaling.
Business innovation – maximizes the value, relevance and unique quality of the solution to create demand and financial sustainability; addresses barriers to affordability and accessibility.
Grand Challenges Canada is looking for innovations that lead to at least one of the following priority outcomes:
- increased wellbeing
- increased resilience
- decreased symptom severity
- improved functioning
- Applicants affiliated with institutions legally incorporated in eligible low- and middleincome countries and/or in Canada are eligible to apply.
- Eligible applicants include social enterprises and legally recognized organizations (e.g. non-profit, for-profit, limited liability companies, research/academic institutions) that:
- is formed and legally incorporated in an eligible country
- can successfully perform activities in their technical area
- can receive and administer grant funding
- There can only be one (1) Project Lead for each project and they must be affiliated with the applying organization. The Project Lead should be the person with the highest level of responsibility working directly on the project and will be the point of contact for Grand Challenges Canada.
- A Project Lead can only be listed on one (1) application. Single institutions can submit multiple applications but each needs a different Project Lead.
- The Review Committee will only consider applications that include all the information required and addresses all questions. You must complete the full application to be considered for review.
Grand Challenges Canada is committed to furthering the principles of environmental sustainability, gender equality and human rights-based approach as follows:
Environmental Sustainability: Grand Challenges Canada requires that applicants commit to ensuring that the innovation will not have significant adverse environmental effects including, but not limited to, long-term and cumulative effects. Applicants shall ensure that the management of environmental effects, including any analysis, is carried out in accordance with the environmental processes and requirements of Grand Challenges Canada. Where possible, applicants should incorporate having positive environmental effects throughout the project.
Gender Equality: Grand Challenges Canada is committed to furthering principles of gender equality in the innovations it funds and across the organization. Specifically, Grand Challenges Canada is supportive of the following objectives:
(1) Advancing women, girls, boys, men, and people with diverse sexual and gender identities’ equal participation as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies;
(2) Promoting the realization of the human rights of all genders; and
(3) Reducing gender inequalities in access to and control over the resources and benefits of development. We believe that supporting gender equality is an important objective in 11 and of itself, and that by using a gender lens in the sourcing and management of development innovations, sustained impact will be bolstered.
Human Rights Based Approach: Grand Challenges Canada is committed to furthering a Human Rights Based Approach. This includes the recognition that inequality and marginalization deny people their human rights. This particularly includes the principles of participation, inclusion, equity, transparency, and accountability in an applicant’s project.
For more information, visit https://www.grandchallenges.ca/programs/global-mental-health/