Mental health initiative reaching half a million African teens set to present to world financial leaders

Expert asks world financial leaders to invest in awareness-raising and treatment options for struggling teens.

Halifax, N.S. (April 13, 2016) – In Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2016, renowned expert in adolescent mental health Dr. Stan Kutcher of TeenMentalHealth.Org will be showcasing their latest initiative with Farm Radio International. Located in Malawi & Tanzania, with the use of radio and evidence based Mental Health research, the initiative has already seen some phenomenal results. The Out of the Shadows: Making Mental Health a Global Development Priority innovation fair, hosted by The World Bank and the World Health Organization will bring 20 other top innovator organizations from around the world.

Depression will soon be the No. 1 burden of disease in the world and this program has created an innovative and integrated solution that brings together youth-friendly interactive media, school-based interventions, and training for community-based health workers. Weekly radio shows designed for youth by youth, combined with mobile phone platforms and social media to engage and solicit feedback from young people are raising awareness and breaking down stigma. Educators, healthcare providers and healthcare workers are also trained as part of this initiative to facilitate a horizontally integrated pathway in care for youth with Depression.

The initiative has seen over 200 healthcare providers and over 400 educators trained with 3,000 students talking to their teachers about theirs or their friends or family members mental health. With over 30,000 youth participating through the phone and over 500,000 being reached over the radio, 15,000 have reached for more information in their schools with over a 1,000 seeking treatment.

“We are excited to showcase the hard work we have put into this project and how it has brought about incremental change. The compelling results, we believe have reached a paradigm in mental health research for depression treatment,” says Dr. Kutcher.

The event aims to shift the mental health movement from the margins to the mainstream of global development agendas. It offers a unique opportunity to introduce and pitch the initiative to other countries that may benefit from the same.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase unique new ways of delivering mental health knowledge and supporting the needs of youth in the environments they live in and regionalize healthcare in the manner they can receive it,” says Dr. Kutcher.


About TeenMentalHealth.Org

Our vision is to help improve the mental health of youth by the effective translation and transfer of scientific knowledge. Our model is to use the best scientific evidence available to develop application-ready training programs, publications, tools and resources that can be applied across disciplines to enhance the understanding of adolescent mental health and mental disorders.

Dr. Stan Kutcher works to create, develop and deliver nationally and internationally recognized research, education and clinical programs by collaborating with health care providers, policymakers, schools, the business community, non-profit organizations and the general public.

Dr. Kutcher is a founding member of Laing House and has led the development of school mental health programs, reaching students throughout the province. He established the mental health research program, recruiting top researchers and academics to Nova Scotia and was instrumental in establishing the Brain Repair Centre, and the International/Global Health Office.

About Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International is a Canadian charity that works with more than 600 radio partners across 39 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. It helps African broadcasters meet the needs of small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities by providing program research and content and broadcasting training to help develop a higher standard of farm radio services. It also works with African radio stations on impact projects that address specific development challenges. FRI has received numerous awards recognizing its innovative use of radio with other information and communication technologies. For more information please visit

About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact® in global health. We are funded by the Government of Canada and we support innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas we support integrate science and technology, social and business innovation to find sustainable solutions to health challenges – we call this Integrated Innovation®  We have a determined focus on results, and on saving and improving lives.

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