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The challenge

Globally, 75% of all mental health challenges begin before age 241, and almost 46,000 adolescents die from suicide every year, among the top five causes of death for their age group2. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), up to 90% of the mental health needs of young people are going unmet due to a lack of resources.3

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the recent rise in living costs, we risk this worsening, along with the prospects and hopes for our future generation to experience wellbeing and thrive.

Our contribution

Fondation Botnar is working in collaboration with Grand Challenges Canada, United for Global Mental HealthGlobal Affairs Canada and the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care using UK aid through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to support Being.

Being is an international mental health initiative working with young people (aged 10 to 24) in low- and middle-income countries to improve their mental wellbeing through research and innovative youth-focused approaches to create positive, lasting change in local communities and beyond.

The Being initiative, launched in October 2022, aims to influence positive systems-level change for young people’s mental health through evidence-based and inclusive approaches. The initiative is based on the recognition that it’s vital to support local innovators that are closest to the health challenges being addressed, to leverage the power of diverse partnerships among the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and to engage with young people whose experiences and perspectives can help drive and create the agenda.

The initiative is informed by a Council, including young people and people with lived experience. Being will promote the ongoing exchange of new evidence, innovations and learnings to inform international discourse and create an ecosystem for young people’s mental health worldwide.

1 Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. (2005). Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62 (6) pp. 593-602. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593.


3 Patel V, Maj M, Flisher AJ, et al.: Reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders: a WPA survey. World Psychiatry 2010; 9:169–176


Learn more about the initiative on the Grand Challenges Canada website here.

Read the latest press release here.

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Being – a mental health initiative
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For Young People

Fondation Botnar
St. Alban-Vorstadt 56
4052 Basel
+41 61 201 04 74