Education & Outreach

Mental Health Literacy for Youth Program

What is the Mental Health Literacy for Youth Program?

This is an educational program tailored to high school students. Half-day workshops are delivered to provide youth an opportunity to connect with CAN-BIND researchers and to gain exposure to cutting-edge research studies. The workshops provide youth with the chance not only to learn about scientific research and methods, but to understand depression and how it can affect anyone. While mental health awareness has increased in recent years across Canada, a silencing stigma around depression is still common in educational institutions and workplaces. One of the aims of the workshops is to encourage youth to be knowledgeable and comfortable discussing mental health and to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.

Now in its fifth year, the workshop includes interactive presentations and activities on:

  • Facts, prevalence, symptoms, and treatment of depression
  • How to conduct research (methods and process)
  • Understanding the anatomy and function of the brain and how it relates to depression
  • Understanding biological rhythms, how to monitor and assess biological rhythms with mobile health technologies, and how they relate to depression

Who leads this initiative?

Dr. Benicio Frey and his team at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton developed this program. His team is working with the CAN-BIND Knowledge Translation team, led by Dr. Sagar Parikh, to bring the program to other Canadian cities.  


What are the main goals of this initiative?


Increase mental health literacy

  • A central aim of this initiative is to increase mental health literacy in youth. Presentations are designed to increase knowledge and awareness about mental health and depression, and to dispel myths that may prevent youth from seeking help.

Engage youth in science and research

  • The research process, emerging and ‘hot’ topics in mental health research, and career paths in research are discussed during the workshops to inspire students to pursue studies in science. Students are encouraged to interact with faculty and graduate students at the events.