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Brain Canada’s Mental Health Research Initiative

Brain Canada’s new mental health research initiative is ambitious and far-reaching. It will address some of Canada’s most pressing mental health challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for enhanced mental health research and care initiatives.

The time to act is now. We must shift from raising awareness to taking action to reduce the funding gap in mental health research. Despite its prevalence and terrible impact, research on mental health and addictions is scarce. Canada currently spends the lowest proportion of funds on mental health amongst all G7 countries, even though mental illnesses account for significantly more years of life lost to ill-health, disability, or early death than cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Meeting the diverse needs for mental health care and providing access to care that meets individual needs is critical.


of Canadians who struggle with a mental illness say their health has declined since the onset of COVID-19


of all Canadians have seen a deterioration in their mental health

To address the vast areas of unmet need attributable to mental illness across Canada, Brain Canada is launching three national research funding programs to invest in developing and implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies in diverse settings related to mental health care for Canadians.

Investing in Basic Mental Health Research

Through basic research, our understanding of the nature, onset and progression of specific mental health illnesses will increase and allow for the development of interventions that could alter events or outcomes of mental health diseases. This research program is broad in order to promote new and emerging ideas, and develop and apply sound methodological approaches that are specifically for neuroscience research conducted in cells, animal models or in humans. The ultimate goal? To bring neuroscience into mental health treatment.

Youth Mental Health Research

Brain Canada recognizes child and youth mental health as the foundation to future mental health. It is also an area in crisis and in dire need of innovation. This research program is an opportunity for new and emerging directions to collaborate, develop and share solutions for today’s youth mental health challenges.

Bell Let’s Talk – Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program

This program supports novel and transformative research that will accelerate the integration of emerging scientific knowledge into developing and improving mental health care, including substance use and addiction. This research program creates an opportunity for diverse research teams to mobilize, with the goal of developing new and emerging directions and solutions for mental health challenges.

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