Government of Canada invests $2.7M in for youth mental health education

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

Funding is part of a commitment of $100 million to support those most affected by COVID-19

March 8, 2023

Young people must have access to mental health and substance use supports when and where they need them. As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking steps to respond to the evolving needs and concerns of youth, including members of Indigenous, BIPOC, newcomer, disability, and LGBTQ2+ communities.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced $2.7M in funding to for its project to scale and adapt the Jack Talks and Be There programs, and to create a digital hub of mental health resources for educators. The project will provide young people with peer-to-peer mental health education that is evidence-based, culturally safe, age-appropriate, and reflective of their experiences and needs.

Today’s investment builds on the historic announcement the Government of Canada made in February of $198.6 billion over 10 years to improve health care services for Canadians, reduce surgical backlogs, support health workers, and improve integrated mental health and substance use services. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that all Canadians have the mental health and substance use supports they need to maintain their well-being now, and into the future.


“Now more than ever, our government recognizes the importance of supporting the mental health and substance use needs of youth, particularly those who are marginalized and underserved. As we work to improve Canada’s universal health care system, today’s announcement with will help reach new communities of young people by promoting peer-to-peer skill-building that meets their diverse needs.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“At, we work with thousands of youth across Canada and we know that they are often the first to notice the signs that one of their peers might be struggling with their mental health. The Be There and Jack Talks programs equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to provide their friends, colleagues, and fellow students with safe and appropriate mental health support. We at care deeply about empowering young people to make change, and we’re thankful that this support will allow us to reach even more youth.”

Rowena Pinto
President & CEO,

Quick facts

  • This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include youth, seniors, First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Black and other racialized people in Canada, front-line and other essential workers, and others whose mental health has been, and continues to be impacted by the pandemic.
  • One in three Canadians indicated their mental health got worse due to the pandemic.
  • Community-based projects focussed on mental health promotion have the potential to improve health outcomes over the life course.
  • Mental health is very much interconnected with physical health, and central to overall health and well-being. For example, poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical conditions, and vice versa. Positive mental health also has a bearing on people’s ability to cope with life’s challenges and stress, sense of belonging and feelings of being in control of their life.
  • You can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth). The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals.
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French. Kids Help Phone saw the demand for their services grow by over 137% in 2020 compared to the year prior, demonstrating a strong need to support youth and their mental health within Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of people in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, the Hope for Wellness Helpline is available to all Indigenous people across Canada. Experienced and culturally competent counsellors are reachable by telephone and online “chat” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both telephone and online chat services are available in English and French. Telephone support is also available upon request in Cree, Ojibway, (Anishinaabemowin), and Inuktitut.

Associated links


Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health,
Carolyn Bennett

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada


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