The goal of the Mental Health in the Early Years (MHITEY) Implementation Science Team Grants funding opportunity is to fund implementation science research that enhances our understanding of how to improve the systematic and equitable implementation of evidence-based interventions for young children (i.e., girls, boys and gender diverse children ages 0-5) and their caregivers that address one or more of the following areas:
- Promotion of positive socio-emotional development and mental health in early childhood;
- Prevention of the development of early childhood mental health issues; and
- Treatment of young children living with or at risk of developing mental health issues through integrated, coordinated and person-oriented care.
To accomplish this goal, the implementation science research will need to be person-oriented, engage relevant knowledge users as members of the research team, and prioritize health equity, Indigenous rights, intersectionality and SGBA+. The implementation science approach of this funding opportunity will improve our knowledge of how to implement and locally adapt early years mental health interventions across diverse settings and sectors with greater acceptability, wide-scale adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, cost-effectiveness, penetration and sustainability. The resulting evidence will contribute to strengthened programs, services and policies for a more equitable, culturally safe, coordinated and integrated approach across a wide range of stakeholders to improve early years mental health promotion, prevention, treatment and care.
Implementation science research can focus on evidence-based interventions (i.e., programs, services, policies) in formal and informal care settings, such as the home and the social care system, early years programming, Indigenous early learning and childcare programs, Indigenous language nests, daycare, preschool and kindergarten. Interventions may also focus on the health care system, education system, social services, community and cultural organizations, public health and health professional services, and/or integration of care across two or more of these sectors. All interventions must target and evaluate mental health and/or socio-emotional development outcomes in young children ages 0 to 5. Given the critical role that caregivers play in early childhood, interventions that include a perinatal and/or caregiver focus will also be eligible, as long as the outcomes of the intervention include enhanced mental health and wellbeing of children ages 0 to 5.