Announcement: Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub receives $2.3 million to support mental health promotion

November 16, 2022 | WATERLOO, Ontario | Renison University College, University of Waterloo

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of Canadians and amplified inequitable mental health outcomes for youth, seniors, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and Black and racialized Canadians. The Government of Canada announced a $100 million investment in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Public Health Agency of Canada administers the Supporting the Mental Health of those Most Affected by COVID-19 initiative and has awarded $2.3 million to the Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub for Mental Health Promotion (KDE Hub). The KDE Hub is dedicated to optimal mental health promotion across Canada and will foster relationships among projects that are also funded through this same initiative. The KDE Hub seeks to strengthen projects by providing access to evidence and resources in the field of mental health promotion and mental illness prevention. It will support the development and sharing of new knowledge produced both across and within projects. The KDE Hub will work with over thirty projects funded through early 2024.

Initiated in 2019 by the Public Health Agency of Canada and hosted by Renison University College, at the University of Waterloo, the KDE Hub is a national entity, engaging a wide range of disciplines, sectors and experiences. The KDE Hub supports projects funded through federal mental health promotion programs and a broader community with shared interests.


The pandemic has resulted in more people struggling with mental health challenges, but it has also made us more willing to talk about our own mental health, helping to lower the stigma associated with mental health and substance use. Supporting initiatives like the KDE Hub for Mental Health Promotion project, which is coordinating a community of practice among projects funded through our $100 million investment in Budget 2021, is essential. By working from the ground up to provide wrap-around services, these projects will support more people in Waterloo and across the country that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

The KDE Hub is thrilled to be a recipient of this timely funding initiative from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and we look forward to continuing our strong and collaborative partnership. The Hub actively contributes to this mission by bringing evidence based, culturally sensitive, equitable and innovative expertise and vision to create new knowledge products that support, from coast to coast to coast, projects addressing the multiple impacts of COVID-19.
Drs. Alice Schmidt Hanbidge and Colleen McMillan, Scientific Co-Directors, KDE Hub


Associated Links

Quick Facts

  • Mental health promotion focuses on wellbeing and seeks to influence the determinants of mental health.
  • Many determinants of mental health have been impacted by the pandemic including social environments, social support networks, employment, income, education, healthy child development and health practices.
  • Canadians have reported poorer mental health since the start of the pandemic than before it.


Media Contacts:

Alice Schmidt Hanbidge, PhD

Scientific Co-Director, KDE Hub
Associate Professor
Renison University College,
University of Waterloo
519-884-4400 ext. 28682

Colleen McMillan, PhD

Scientific Co-Director, KDE Hub
Associate Professor
Renison University College,
University of Waterloo
519-884-4400 ext. 28723