children playing

Government of Canada invests $6.5 million in research to support the health and mental wellbeing of young children

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Publication Date: 
5 May 2023


The Government of Canada is committed to improving the health and mental wellbeing of children and youth in Canada. Early childhood experiences influence a child’s mental health for life—and with 70% of mental health and substance use problems having origins in childhood, understanding how to better identify and treat young children at risk of developing or living with a mental health issue is crucial.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $6.5 million over five years for six projects funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Mental Health in the Early Years (MHITEY) initiative. MHITEY, led by the CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, will help to advance Canada’s mental health strategy by identifying solutions for safe and equitable programs and services for diverse populations, and through adopting, adapting and improving the use of evidence-based practices in clinical, community, and public health settings.

The funded research projects will create early childhood development assessment tools and training materials for Indigenous communities in Canada; a program to support mothers who use substances and their young children; an effective method for communities to develop their own “early years” mental health programs to ensure at-risk children and families get the right support where and when they need it; and two online apps to support parents and their preschool-aged children overcome challenges such as anxiety, anger, depression and sleep problems.

Today’s announcement builds on the investments made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2023, including our investment of nearly $200 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, including children and youth, have the mental health and substance use supports they need and deserve.