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Creating Change, Together

Frayme works alongside youth, service providers, researchers, policy makers, caregivers and advocates to create more accessible mental health services that better meet the needs of Canadian youth.

The Journey

You are about to go on a journey. One that is all too familiar to youth struggling today, but one that also demonstrates the impact Frayme and its network have had in supporting youth and their families in the right way, at the right time, in the context that matters to them.

The Need

Young people, their families, and communities across Canada have long called for a better, more effective youth mental health and substance use system.

It’s pretty simple - If we want to invest in the future of Canada, then we need to support the youth of the present.

Our Impact

Frayme is a network of partners working to collaborate, build connections and reduce duplication in an under-resourced, and under-serviced youth mental health and substance use system.

In just five years, we have brought together hundreds of service providers, youth, caregivers, policy makers, researchers and advocates across Canada and internationally.

Square one.

Ever tried to reach out for mental health and/or substance use support for you or a loved one? Yeah. Us too. Ever been met with a wait list? Or been turned away because you’re “not sick” enough? Yeah. Us too.

Youth mental health and substance use (YMHSU) services are fragmented. There are limited resources across the sector and efforts to use these limited resources to improve services are often not coordinated. This lack of coordination means there is a lot of duplication of efforts and barriers to treatment persist. Only a minority of Canadian youth are able to access effective treatments and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the severity and complexity of need. This needs to change.


Since the pandemic, 68% of Canadians aged 15-24 report having worsened mental health (Statistics Canada, 2020)

We help define.

Frayme is a system intermediary. Which is just a formal way to say we support all those working in the youth mental health and substance use sector by getting them the best evidence available to make services work better for youth and their families.

We approach evidence, communications, evaluation and partnerships in inclusive and collaborative ways, bridging meaningful connections and enhancing the use of best practice across the sector.

“So impressed by the work of Shauna MacEachern, her team at Frayme, and the youth network Groundbreakers. Frayme is bringing the lived experiences of youth to the cutting edge of service innovation and knowledge mobilization.”

David Channer

Chief Executive Officer, A Better Way Frayme Partner


The challenges within the Canadian YMHSU system are numerous and complex. If you work within the system, you are most likely acutely aware of some of these challenges: Finding the right help and support is difficult. Youth face constant inequities depending on geographic, economic and cultural factors. Waitlists for support are months - or even years - long. Services are not grounded in lived expertise. The research-to-practice gap is only widening. While these gaps persist and grow, the mental health crisis for youth is increasingly more severe with young people facing uncertain and overwhelming futures.

17 years

There’s a 17-year delay between research and practice, and between knowing and doing (Hoens & Scarrow, 2022)

We build support.

Frayme connects service providers, youth and researchers in the YMHSU sector through activities such as our national forums and annual Learning Institute, in order to broker learning, sharing and connections across the system.


Building, identifying and enhancing relationships and connections across the sector around critical evidence needs is time intensive. We need a thriving interconnected system to best serve youth, their families and communities. This work requires resources, time and knowledge about what is happening and who is working on what. This is often beyond the capacity of many of those working to implement service.


In healthcare, 30% of care is inappropriate, not needed or potentially harmful. (Squires, et al., 2022).

We create access.

Frayme works to increase collaboration and educate the sector. We have heard firsthand from those delivering services to the system that Frayme is effectively and meaningfully amplifying the voices of lived experts, highlighting programs that demonstrate excellence and building collaboration across Canada.

“Thank you to everyone at Frayme for all your support. The funding that was made available to us allowed so many Indigenous youth and non-Indigenous groups and organizations access to The Invisible Segment of Canada presentation that otherwise would not have been able to financially afford it. We are very grateful for everything and we look forward to continuing to work with Frayme!”

Dwight Ballantyne

The Ballantyne Project

First Steps

The first step to fixing the system is through connecting the system. Youth and caregivers need to actively inform decision-making processes as equal partners. Service providers and researchers need to learn and inform each other’s work. Policy makers need to hear from all types of experts including rural and remote communities, grassroots organizations, intermediaries and academic institutions. Provinces, territories and jurisdictions need to be linked to each other to share what’s working and what isn’t. A united, pan-Canadian evidence-based approach to addressing systemic inequities needs to be created and shared. Together, we can build a system that learns, grows, and - ultimately - works.

We build networks.

Over the past four years, we have been building a network of over 400+ partner organizations representing various jurisdictions, contexts and demographics across Canada. This network is dynamic, responsive and ever-changing. More importantly, this network provides the ability to amplify the voices of all stakeholder groups that should be involved in system transformation and service design including youth and caregivers, clinicians and service providers, researchers, policy makers and academics.

400 +

400+ partner organizations since Frayme’s inception in 2017

Fallback and Challenges

In some provinces and territories, wait times can be up to one year long. Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world. Indigenous youth die by suicide at a rate of 5 to 6 times higher than non-Indigenous youth. These sobering statistics are well known, and yet, we continue to see declining mental health outcomes for many youth across Canada. Why is that? We continue to see youth not engaged in the design of mental health services. Why is that? We continue to see the same replication and duplication of projects over and over without learning from what’s already been done. Why is that? Much of this comes down to the fact that we are simply not sharing, and talking to each other enough about what works, and what doesn’t.

We find solutions.

Groundbreakers is Frayme’s flagship National Lived Expertise Network of youth and caregiver advocates. Groundbreakers are experts in their communities, their causes, and their own life experiences. Most of all, they’re experts at being themselves. At Frayme, we think that kind of expertise is just as valuable as that of a researcher or mental healthcare professional. We are actively matching Groundbreakers to service providers and researchers across Canada, supporting them to advocate for themselves, providing purpose behind the hardship, and more importantly, allowing the sector to learn from their perspectives.

“Frayme’s Groundbreakers has been an incredible champion of mine since our first meeting, amplifying my voice and connecting me to relevant organizations, resources, and individuals with lived experience. Frayme has shown genuine interest within every interaction, and has provided me with incredible opportunities as a Groundbreaker, such as the opportunity to participate in nationwide conversations. I have immense gratitude and respect for the expertise and genuine passion of the team at Frayme, and encourage every youth, caregiver, and advocate to join their community.”

Agnes Chen

Founder of Starlings Community


Youth are facing a national and global future that is hard to be hopeful about. The COVID-19 pandemic created a situation that contributed to increased incidents of eating disorders, domestic violence, and complex mental health needs.

Young people continue to express deep concerns about climate change, increasingly inaccessible housing markets and oppressive health systems.

Hope is one of the most powerful things we can provide our youth. And while it may not be easy to find in today’s world, it’s still possible to cultivate.

We open conversations.

As a national entity, Frayme is uniquely informed on the latest happenings within the YMHSU sector and uses this knowledge to develop strategic partnerships between service providers, policy makers and youth & caregivers. Through our work we have supported Indigenous Youth to travel from reserve to urban centres to find hope and discover new experiences, we have funded organizations to share their learnings around virtual care, we have amplified the stories of those accessing and providing care through our channels and we have created space at the table for all voices and forms of evidence.


As of 2022, we’ve matched 110 Groundbreakers to opportunities across the youth mental health sector.

Moving Forward

We must move forward. There is a lot of collective good intention, effort, wisdom and evidence across the YMHSU sector but there is also still a lot of learning and implementing to do.

We Are Looking Ahead.

Moving forward requires an aligned national agenda through connected efforts around data, evaluation, standards, and cultural evidence. More importantly, we need to fill in the gaps with the voices of lived expertise, service provider knowledge and evidence-based research. It’s a tall order, but Frayme is poised to take it on. By investing in our youth, we are giving people hope for the future. Because at the end of the day, our youth are our future.

“Frayme is going in a more active, connector role and bringing transparency to projects that are happening nationally. They are really responding to a lot of the frustrations that many of us in the youth mental health space have vocalized for a little while now, so this is really promising to see. Great work Frayme.”

Aidan Scott

Co-Founder, Speakbox Frayme Partner

Together, we are making a


Frayme by the numbers


Over $1.7 million in funding flowed to research, programs and services through grant streams and partnerships.


250+ Groundbreakers helping advocate, volunteer and embed their lived expertise in service and system design.


30,000+ service providers engaged and upskilled through the development and dissemination of knowledge products that drive research into practice.


43 lived expertise, practice, and research projects supported through Frayme funding, partnership development, knowledge mobilization and shared to the wider YMHSU sector.

Key Partnerships and Projects

The Learning Institute

Since 2020, The Learning Institute (LI) has brought together diverse stakeholders from coast-to-coast with one common goal: creating a YMHSU system grounded in collaboration and best practice. LI is an opportunity for youth, caregivers, operational leaders, clinicians, researchers, academics and policy makers to engage, share ideas and challenges, and tap into each other's expertise through plenaries, networking opportunities, and workshops. Over the years, LI has welcomed over 1,050 attendees, 254 presenters from across 11 provinces and territories, and has offered over 200 youth opportunities to participate in the conference as key players through moderation and co-hosting.


1,050 attendees, 254 presenters from across 11 provinces and territories, and over 200 youth opportunities to participate in the conference as key players through moderation and co-hosting.

Learn more about The Learning Institute


At Frayme, we believe that those with lived and living expertise bring forth knowledge and insights that are integral to transforming the youth mental health and substance use sector, and so we created Groundbreakers as a platform for these voices to be heard. With over 250 youth, caregivers and advocates, we provide opportunities for these experts to use their knowledge and experiences to inform research and programs, as well as support them in building skills and capacity in knowledge mobilization, advocacy and engagement.

Discover how Groundbreakers is amplifying lived expertise

Discover our Groundbreakers

Integrated Youth Services Knowledge Series

The field of Integrated Youth Services is growing and evolving rapidly, both in Canada and internationally. While there is a set of guiding principles at the core of IYS, there is no one specific or consistent model, implementation, or evaluation framework currently in place, resulting in a diversity of approaches and insights across sites and regions. Frayme spent the last 5 years working with provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions engaged in the implementation and evaluation of IYS to ensure a coordinated approach through insight-sharing, collaboration and policy recommendations for a united path forward.


7 Policy Recommendations developed from the knowledge and expertise shared at the event.

Read Our Recomendations

Knowledge Mobilization Fellowship

The Knowledge Mobilization Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for Frayme to walk alongside youth and caregivers, but let them lead the way in product creation. Through training and skill development, our first cohort of 10 Groundbreaker Fellows worked in pairs to co-create meaningful knowledge products, and collaborated with Frayme to showcase and disseminate their products within the YMHSU system. Community, connection, capacity building, and opportunities result from this program.

100 %

100% of KMb fellows felt that the program supported the development of their skills and meaningfully integrated their lived experience into KMb efforts.

Meet our Fellows

Grants, Community Funds and Funded Knowledge Mobilization

Aligning with Frayme’s core values of equity and engagement of lived experience, all of our grants are co-designed with youth and caregivers and include youth and caregivers in the adjudication process. Frayme also prioritizes community-based work for funding, recognizing the barriers that many smaller organizations experience in securing support. Each of our grants and funded partnerships are designed to produce knowledge products for sharing key insights back to the system to uphold our mandate of facilitating knowledge sharing in the sector-at-large.

Our team experienced remarkable growth as a result of the support from Frayme. We were encouraged to think big, try new things, and take chances

Adoption Council of Canada and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Grant Recipient
Grant Recipient

Learn about our Grants

Testimonials from our Partners

Rhowena Martin photo

“The entire team at Frayme is incredible to work with. They are dedicated to moving the needle forward on the youth mental health and substance use health system landscape in Canada. Frayme has been a collaborative partner with Canadian Centre on Substance use and Addiction, particularly on the Improving Treatment Together project. They are effective leaders in youth engagement and knowledge mobilization, successfully connecting youth with the right mental health and substance use care in Canada.”

Rhowena Martin

Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Kathy Langlois photo

“The Frayme team has been an amazing partner for the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership and the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIMHL/IIDL) during our 2022 Leadership Exchange. Frayme worked closely with IIMHL/IIDL to ensure that over 40 youth and young adults could attend our North America Regional Hub in Washington DC, October 26-27, 2022. Not only did Frayme provide financial support for these youth to attend, they provided valuable ally training for the members of the IIMHL/IIDL North America Hub Planning Committee, a number of whom sponsored young adults to attend in Washington DC. The allyship model employed was a true success and allowed the youth to have their voices heard throughout the event. A particular success was the number of Indigenous youth in attendance and the strong role they played throughout the event. This could only have been achieved through IIMHL/IIDL’s partnership with Frayme!”

Kathy Langlois

North America Regional Lead, IIMHL and IIDL

Stacie Smith photo

“Frayme has gotten engagement down to a science. They are able to find creative ways to get young people and caregivers involved in their initiatives' and as a Groundbreaker that will help improve the YMHSU sector. The opportunities provided to me by Frayme have allowed me to build skills in leadership, research, and youth engagement that have helped me to be in the career I am in today.”

Stacie Smith

Youth Mental Health Project Coordinator, Partners for Youth and Frayme Groundbreaker

Our Teams

Frayme’s teams work cross-functionally in order to ensure a triangulated approach to all projects through lived expertise, research and practice. We support all those working in the youth mental health and substance use sector through multi-faceted efforts in knowledge mobilization and equity, communications, evaluation, and funding and strategic partnership development.

Team Vebb Duagran

Knowledge Equity

The Knowledge Equity portfolio works to develop, capture, synthesize, evaluate and implement diverse forms of evidence, focusing on the triangulation of perspectives including researchers, service providers, and youth and caregivers. Our goal is to help ensure effective, accessible and equitable services and support for all youth.

Network and Partnerships

The Network and Partnerships portfolio is responsible for the development and execution of a Pan-Canadian network strategy that addresses effective engagement of existing network members and attraction of new members to drive the overall success of Frayme’s organizational vision and strategy. To align with our values of collaboration and non-duplication, Frayme’s envisioning and brokering of partnerships between stakeholders is a key strategy for facilitating a more connected YMHSU system.

Marketing, Communications
and Digital Media

The marketing and communications portfolio is responsible for overseeing all external and internal channels between Frayme and its stakeholders, articulating Frayme’s brand, mission and vision as well as packaging Frayme’s and its partners’ work through various marketing and communication products and vehicles while engaging with Frayme’s partners via social media channels.


The Operations portfolio is responsible for the strategic management of Frayme’s finances, human resources, payroll, legal activities, quality improvement initiatives and the measurement of the organization’s overall impact. This portfolio is also responsible to report and liaise with Frayme’s Board of Directors on behalf of the Secretariat and to Frayme’s funders.

Learn more about our teams

Programs About Us

Our Network

Frayme’s value to the system is rooted in our role as convener and connector with the Canadian youth mental health and substance use system. Frayme's network is composed of diverse international and national partners working to create effective integrated systems of care and improving youth mental health services and supports. Network members have access to Frayme’s Knowledge Exchange, premier events, and opportunities to contribute to or participate in important knowledge sharing initiatives.

Network map

Learn more about our network

Our Network

Testimonials from our Partners

Mark Beckles photo

“RBC Future Launch is proud to partner with Frayme on knowledge mobilization in the youth mental health space. Frayme continuously keeps youth at the centre of all the work they do and are constantly innovating in their approaches to sectoral solutions.”

Mark Beckles

Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation RBC Corporate Citizenship

Ervis Musa photo

“I am extremely privileged to be a Frayme Youth Groundbreaker as I have been exposed to novel training streams and experiences that have not only taught me key life skills, but also new methods of approaching my professional and personal life. Frayme connects youth, advocates, and families to mental health care knowledge/workshops pertinent to equipping these stakeholders with the skills they require to progress the national youth mental health care agenda. Frayme demonstrates a consistent desire for positive youth engagement and excels in individualizing the experience of all persons associated with their organization. I am fortunate and grateful to be part of an organization that embodies youth and community engagement.”

Ervis Musa

Frayme Groundbreaker

Yvonne Pelling photo

“Joining Frayme’s Groundbreakers was an opportunity for me to connect with like minded folks who have a passion for making an impact in the field of youth mental health. It offered a bridge between myself and numerous ways to get involved in projects. It is so, so meaningful to me.”

Yvonne Pelling

Caregiver Groundbreaker Frayme


Our Goals


Frayme runs strategic grant programs each year in order to equitably flow funds to services and research across Canada that address urgent needs in the YMHSU sector.

Lived Expertise

Groundbreakers is Frayme’s National Network of Lived Experts consisting of over 200+ youth & caregiver advocates actively being matched to service providers to better inform systems and programs.


Frayme connects service providers in the YMHSU sector through activities, such as our annual Learning Institute, in order to broker learning, sharing and connections across the system.

Capacity Development

Frayme has worked to create a more informed, educated and skilled YMHSU sector across Canada through conferences, workshops, educational webinars, capacity training, knowledge exchange and more since 2017.


As a national entity, Frayme is uniquely informed on the latest happenings within the YMHSU sector and uses this knowledge to develop strategic partnerships between service providers, policy makers and youth and caregivers.

Knowledge Mobilization

Frayme is actively translating research into practice through our webinar series, conference workshops, lived experience blog, grant streams, fellowships and other knowledge Mobilization events and products.

Frayme has been made possible in part with funding from Health Canada.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

Financial Contribution From Health Canada

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