Understanding MINDS

MINDS is Canada’s first Social Innovation Lab (SIL) dedicated to addressing complex challenges in our mental health system, especially those impacting young people in our community. Our focus is on creating and evaluating effective solutions to improve the well-being of youth.


At MINDS, we emphasize collaboration and innovative thinking. We work closely with a diverse group of stakeholders and take a user-centered approach to drive meaningful change. Currently, MINDS 1.0 is managing eight prototypes developed with input from young individuals and community partners. These initiatives have had a significant impact, reaching thousands of people in our community, including those with lived experience, families, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders.

In 2024, we are excited to introduce two new innovative programs:
  • Mindful Social Innovation (MSI) Training
  • Community System Innovation (CSI)

These initiatives aim to foster collaboration among leaders from diverse backgrounds, empowering them to create and launch impactful projects aimed at addressing priority areas identified through our local Collective’s sensemaking activities.

Our overarching goal is to develop and launch new initiatives that effectively tackle the complex challenges within mental health and addiction care. Through these programs, we seek to not only create innovative solutions but also to foster a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration within our community.


Why Youth Mental Health?

Recent surveys conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada have revealed concerning trends among young and emerging adults following the COVID-19 pandemic. The surveys show a significant increase in rates of depression (24%), anxiety (42%), and suicidal ideation (17%) among this demographic. Additionally, there has been a notable rise in problematic alcohol (29%) and marijuana (51%) use among youth and emerging adults. Access to mental health services has also been challenging for many young people, with only a quarter of those in need reporting that they accessed services during this time. The strain on the healthcare system has led to longer waitlists and delays in receiving treatment, prompting fears of a potential collapse. Furthermore, MINDS recognizes the intersection between mental health and systemic inequalities such as racism, poverty, and discrimination. We are dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, inclusivity, and decolonization (EDID) in our work. Through intentional engagement and inclusive practices, our goal is to empower communities and foster a more inclusive mental health and addiction system.Looking ahead to 2024, we’re expanding our efforts with two new programs: Mindful Social Innovation (MSI) Training and Community System Innovation (CSI). These initiatives aim to engage change leaders (including you), from diverse backgrounds to drive positive change in our healthcare system. We partner with mental health programs and organizations, continuously assessing the impact of our projects and reaching out to thousands of individuals in our community.

Our Supporters

Gold Sponsor

We are proud to be recipients of funding from St Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. It is thanks for their backbone financial support that we can do the important work we do every day.

Our Supporters

The funds to support MINDS also comes through community support and grants. ​A huge thanks to all of our funders for their generous support!

Our Collective

Our collective are individuals and organizations that we work alongside. MINDS could not be MINDS without their incredible contributions. Thank you for believing in our vision