Grand Challenges Canada

One in seven adolescents worldwide faces mental health conditions, with anxiety and depression being the most common issues. Additional stressors, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, exacerbate the situation. Despite the growing need, national health budgets globally only allocate 2% to mental health.

At this year’s Skoll World Forum, Grand Challenges Canada’s Director of Scale and Sustainability, Adetunji Eleso, joined a panel of experts that included UNICEF USA, the Obama Foundation and the UNICEF Office of Innovation to explore innovative ways of supporting young people’s mental health globally.

“While the data paints a stark picture about the crisis in youth mental health, charting a path forward should involve innovative approaches centred around supportive communities where young people have the means and agency to promote their wellbeing according to their needs,” said Eleso.

Five takeaway solutions from the panel:

  1. Increase understanding and access to mental health intervention, prevention and promotion.
  2. Raise awareness and reduce stigma to help young people seek their needed support.
  3. Support young people’s participation in co-designing mental health programs and services.
  4. Create supportive community environments for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
  5. Address social and economic factors and establish policies and programs that support young people’s mental health.

By funding and supporting the scale and sustainability of innovations that improve mental health awareness, prevention, and care availability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) supports innovators in addressing the growing mental health needs of young people in their communities.  In 2022, we launched  Being, a mental health initiative dedicated to the mental wellbeing of young people aged 10-24 in 13 priority countries. The initiative is hosted by GCC, in partnership with Fondation Botnar, United for Global Mental Health, Global Affairs Canada, and The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care using UK aid through the National Institute for Health and Care Research. Being is also informed by a Council and Youth and Lived Experience Advisors.

Read the complete account and key takeaways from this panel on