COVID-19 Child, Youth & Family Mental Health Impact Grant

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COVID-19 Child, Youth & Family Mental Health Impact Grant

 COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on life in New Brunswick and beyond. The Secretary General of the UN released a statement in May 2020 highlighting in particular COVID-19’s extensive impact on mental health, and how critical mental health is to our collective wellbeing.[1] In this global crisis, anxiety, depression, and social isolation affect all Canadians and those with more acute needs struggle with reduced engagement with their mental health services. Children, youth and families who are now dealing with disrupted routines, isolation from friends, potential job losses among parents, and the struggles of maintaining a quality of education from home are a particularly affected group.

Even in normal times, mental illness affects 1.2 million children and youth in Canada. In 2018-2019, half of the New Brunswick youth in grades 6 to 12 surveyed by the New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey had shown symptoms of depression or anxiety in the last twelve months.[2],[3] It is estimated that 10%-20% of Canadian children and youth may develop a mental disorder. [4] The impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of this population is not yet well understood. At this critical development time, a lack of appropriate, timely supports for these children and youth can impact their future success in school, personal relationships and career choices.

Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) are partnering to offer a grant of $50,000 to advance our understanding of the mental health impact of COVID-19 on families in New Brunswick, and ways to mitigate it through the development of evidence-based programs and interventions.

[1] Guterres, A. (2020). Launch of the policy brief on covid-19 and mental health: "Mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19". United Nations. Retrieved from: [Accessed 2020-07-17]

[2] New Brunswick Health Council (2020). New Brunswick student wellness survey: grades 6-12, 2018-2019. New Brunswick Health Council. Retrieved from: [Accessed 2020-09-29]

[3] New Brunswick Health Council (2020). The state of mental health in N.B. youth: what youth grades 6 to 12 tell us in the latest stuls of the New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey. New Brunswick Health Council. Retrieved from: [Accessed 2020-09-29]

[4] Canadian Institute of Health Information. (2019). Child and youth mental health in Canada — Infographic. Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI). Retrieved from: [Accessed 2020-08-10]

The Research Challenge:

Understanding and mitigating the mental health impact of COVID-19 on New Brunswick’s children, youth and families.


The grant is valued at up to $50,000, and term of the grant is 12 months.


To be eligible for this grant, there must be two applicants leading the project (co-principal investigators) who must be New Brunswick residents and who are supported by a team.

The co-principal investigators must be:

  1. A researcher/academic* from a New Brunswick-based academic institution; AND
  2. A leader or member of a New Brunswick-based care or service provider with direct experience in the proposed research and interest in its intended outcomes.

In addition to the principal investigator, your team must include a child, youth and/or family member who has lived experience with the topic of research focus.

You can also choose to involve other health care providers, community organizations, additional researchers and possibly entrepreneurs to enhance the depth and scope of your team and support your proposed activities.

*Researcher/academic: defined as an individual who has an academic or research appointment and who can pursue the proposed research project as part of the duties of their appointment.


Your proposal will be assessed according to the following criteria, and must clearly explain how it meets all of the below.

                                                             A. Relevance/Need (20%)1

1. Demonstrated need/ case for action

The proposal demonstrates evidence-based need/case for action in local context.

It must include a high-level overview of work that has already been done in the sector, and how the current project will complement (and not duplicate) work that is already underway. 

Please cite your sources in-text using an (Author, Year) format. A full reference list is not necessary.

2. Meaningful engagement of persons with lived experience

The proposal ensures the meaningful engagement of a child, youth or family member from the relevant community at every stage – from development of the proposal to implementation of the project.

3. Letters of support from the community

The proposal includes up to 3 letters of support from members of the community, (and their contact information) who will directly benefit from the proposal/project.

  B. Merit of proposed solution & METHODOLOGY (50%)

4. Approach – clarity, rationale, evidence-based

The research question is clearly stated.

The proposed approach is clear and based on a sound rationale.

Proposed activities are well-suited to addressing the stated challenge/need. The proposed solution/approach is informed by evidence.

5. Family & youth engagement

The proposal demonstrates a commitment to and plans for meaningful and appropriate engagement of those with lived experience, in this case, youth and/or family members from relevant communities throughout all stages of the proposal development and project implementation.

6. Innovation, originality

The initiative is grounded in/informed by evidence but stretches the boundaries of the status quo (existing knowledge or practice), using novel (promising) concepts, approaches, tools or intervention.

7. Workplan

The project workplan is reasonable and feasible given proposed objectives, timelines and budget. The workplan includes activities, deliverables, roles of project team member and timelines for implementation.

8. Collaboration

The proposal demonstrates plans for collaboration and meaningful engagement with the broader community/service area (e.g., among lead and core service agencies and/or with cross-sectoral partners).

9. Rigorous research & evaluation design

The proposal includes reasonable preliminary plans for both process and outcome evaluation.

10. Budget

A budget has been provided using the given template (See Appendix A). Budget appears reasonable for work being proposed. Please note that administration fees, technology, and/or hardware are NOT eligible for funding.

Your budget must also include a proposed fund-disbursement schedule based on project milestones (we recommend two project milestones with an amount payable on signing of contract, and a 10% hold-back of the grant total until receipt of the final report).

11. Ethical standards

The team must follow ethical standards and procedures for research at all stages of the proposal and its implementation. Proof of ethics approval must be provided.

C.  Potential for impact (30%)1

12. Transformative potential

The proposal demonstrates that the initiative has potential to advance broader provincial priorities to child and youth mental health services in New Brunswick.

Preference will be given to proposals with potential for scaling within and beyond the province of New Brunswick.

13. Knowledge mobilization plans

The proposal demonstrates short-term and long-term plans to mobilize knowledge generated through this work, including a dissemination strategy to inform the broader community of research relevance and findings.

1A score of at least 70% must be achieved in both subcategories A and C to be considered for the grant


Visit the website of Mental Health Research Canada ( to apply via MHRC’s Submittable portal and fill out the application form. Provide supporting documents, if applicable.

An independent Advisory Group will assess the proposals and make recommendations for funding.


The following resources may be useful in preparing your proposal:

Ethics, respect & inclusivity:

Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

Knowledge mobilization:

Doing more with what you know: Knowledge Mobilization Toolkit


Implementation guide: CIHR module


There will be multiple check-ins at various points with MHRC and NBHRF, as well as a requirement to report back on the evaluation findings and key outcomes.

MHRC and NBHRF will provide guidance and support as needed to ensure the success of each project.


All rights to any inventions and/or research reside solely with the applicant. Neither MHRC nor NBHRF possess ownership of, or equity in, the winning submissions; however, applicants will engage with both organizations to ensure mobilization of relevant knowledge that emerges from successful projects, and grant both organizations the right to share and promote the project’s findings.


MHRC and NBHRF reserve the right to put forth a second call for proposals if the submissions received do not fulfill the criteria of the grants.  


Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC):

MHRC is a national, charitable organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of the one in five Canadians – over 7 million people – living with mental illness. The impact is profound: mental illness affects their physical well-being, their relationships with family and friends, and their ability to work. MHRC is here to change that. We advance mental health research that is problem-solving, cost-effective and usable in the real world, transforming treatments and prevention in creative and collaborative ways. We are building on the 55-year legacy of our predecessor organization, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, which invested $34 million to fund 332 mental health research projects over a 10-year period. Because we are committed to building knowledge that will have practical application and deep impact, we begin with those who will use it – people with lived experience. We also consult and partner with other stakeholders, including other mental health organizations, social agencies, entrepreneurs, business and government.

The New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF):

NBHRF is an independent not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 15 key stakeholders from the health research community in New Brunswick. Our vision is a healthy and prosperous New Brunswick through excellence in health research and innovation. Our mission is to provide leadership and support to build health research capacity, improve the health of New Brunswickers and advance the knowledge economy. NBHRF is located at 10 Knowledge Park Drive, Suite 100 Fredericton, NB, E3C 2M7.

Appendix A: Budget Template      appendix.docx

Please detail all costs for this project as per the categories below; to add a line, insert an extra row in the relevant category. Please note that administration fees, technology, and/or hardware are NOT eligible for funding.


A.   Employment and Compensation (including salaries, hourly wages, stipends, etc)

 Amount Requested

Amount from other sources










TOTAL Employment and Compensation

 $                                  -  

$                                  -    

B.   Goods and Services

 Amount Requested

Amount from other sources







TOTAL Goods and Services

 $                                  -  

$                                  -    

C.   Gifts, Honoraria and Incentives

 Amount Requested

Amount from other sources







TOTAL Gifts, Honoraria and Incentives

 $                                  -  

$                                  -    

E. Other (specify)

 Amount Requested

Amount from other sources








 $                                  -  

$                                  -    


 $                                  -  

$                                  -    

Fund Disbursement Schedule:

Project Milestone

Anticipated Date of Completion:

Proposed Amount to be Disbursed:

  1. Signing of Contract & Submission of Ethics Approval


  1. [Milestone 1]


  1. [Milestone 2]


  1. Final Report Submission (Recommended 10%)


$                                         5,000

Total Payout:


$                                        50,000