Project Spotlight:

Adapting and Scaling’s Youth Mental Health Education Programming

Adapting the Jack Talks and Be There programs to meet the needs of Indigenous, Francophone and racialized young people across Canada


  1. Young people aged 13 to 24 of all racial, ethnic, and gender identities and expressions.
  2. Adult allies who work with young people aged 13 to 24, such as high school and post-secondary educators, and camp staff across Canada.



To advance mental health promotion, stigma reduction, and early recognition of mental health problems. It will empower young people and youth allies to build knowledge, confidence, and skills to care for their own mental health, safely support others who may be struggling, and create supportive environments for youth mental health in diverse communities across the country.


Project activities will increase the mental health literacy of young people, decreasing the shame that prevents them from seeking help, and building their knowledge of mental health and available supports.

  • Scale and adapt the Be There program to reflect the experiences of newcomer youth in Canada so their mental health education needs are met.
  • Design and launch an adapted version of the Jack Talks program (Jack Talks 2.0), to enable young people with advanced mental health knowledge to continue their learning beyond foundational mental health concepts and build skills to support themselves and others.
  • Create and promote an accessible digital library of mental health resources for educators to use, in conjunction with Jack Talks, to create lesson plans specific to the mental health needs and interests of students.



  • Schools
  • Community-based organizations

Implementation sites

  • National


    • One out of every five young people will experience a mental health disorder but many of them lack the essential mental health education that would help them get the support they need.
    • surveyed 1,200 young people across Canada and found 83% had supported a friend struggling with their mental health, but only 39% felt they were adequately prepared to offer the support that was needed.


In the words of the project team members

“The outcome that we’re really looking to drive towards here is helping young people learn about mental health – learn about how to take care of their own mental health and others – but in a way that works for them and in a language that really resonates with them.”

Key protective factors

  • Coping
  • Healthy relationships with peers
  • Supportive relationships in the community
  • School connectedness
  • Civic engagement and empowerment

Key approaches

  • Trauma-informed
  • Evidenced-based
  • Health equity-focused
  • Peer-based upstream model