ACCESS Open Minds

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous

Topic: Crime issues involving a mental health disorder or other health disorder

Setting: Rural/remote area; Urban area; Community-based setting; Social services setting

Location: Alberta; New Brunswick; Northwest Territories; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Quebec; Saskatchewan

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention

Brief Description

ACCESS Open Minds - New Brunswick (NB) is a Canadian research project looking to find the best practices for providing mental health care to young persons. ACCESS Open Minds seeks to create and promote adolescent/young adult connections with community-driven, strengths-based, stigma-free services as early as possible. Their work is based on 5 foundational pillars: early identification, rapid access, appropriate care, youth and family participation, and continuity of care beyond the age of 18. The project is carried out through the supervision and work of several different councils and committees composed of people from different age groups, gender, and fields of work to ensure best practices are used in their work to improve youth mental health.


The main goals of the ACCESS Open Minds program are to:

  • Improve engagement and awareness of mental health in youth population;
  • Lead to early identification for mental health issues in persons age 11 to 25 years old; and
  • Provide timely access to evidence based, youth friendly mental healthcare for the entire range of potential problems.


This project is targeted at young persons (aged 11-25) in need of mental health support services.

Core Components

ACCESS Open Minds is intended to expand the knowledge of the general population in regards to mental health in order to provide services to youth in a timely manner. The central components of this project are:

  • Developing a safe space for youth with mental health issues while empowering their voices and improving access to care;
  • Better identify and support youth in need by training all sectors of society on mental health issues, and increase a provincial/national knowledge network for sharing information and research; and
  • Evaluate the results of changes made to youth mental healthcare.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: An oversight committee monitors the progress of the project, and advisory council promotes and facilitates the mission and vision, the executive committee is the main governing body and offers guidance in several areas, a youth council works to create culture change and promotes youth engagement, a family and carers council gives those caring for youth a voice, and the steering committee ensures focus is maintained. Team New Brunswick is made up of youth and their supporters, First Nations, community, researchers, decision makers, and service providers. New Brunswick was chosen as a site for this research project because it is representative of Canada.
  • Partnerships: The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Graham Boeckh Foundation, Medavie, mental health service providers, communities.
  • Training and technical assistance: ACCESS Open Minds NB project is currently developing its training curriculum for its staff, which will be focused around early intervention and identification of warning signs for mental health in youth and adolescents.
  • Risk assessment tools: Selection of risk assessment tools still underway.
  • Materials & resources: ACCESS Open Minds NB is working closely with its partners to develop an information management system that will incorporate data from both the provincial and community-based datasets. In addition, the ACCESS Open Minds NB team and its provincial government partners are currently in discussion in regards to developing joint materials and evaluations tools to facilitate the gathering and sharing of data and information along the continuum of care.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The following locations have been implementation sites for the ACCESS Open Minds NB program:

  • Puvirnituq, Nunavik, QC
  • Chatham-Kent, ON
  • University of Alberta, AB
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Ulukhaktok, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT
  • Eskasoni First Nation, NS
  • Sturgeon Lake First Nation, SK
  • Mistissini, QC
  • RIPAJ-Montréal/Homeless Youth Network, QC
  • Parc-Extension, QC
  • Province of New Brunswick
  • Dorval-Lachine-Lasalle, QC

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

ACCESS Open Minds NB is currently conducting an overall cost-benefit analysis of the community-based support it intends to provide to the Province of New-Brunswick. Results are expected in 2018.


Government of New Brunswick (2015). New Brunswick mental health network for youth funded. Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. Available from:

ACCESS Open Minds (2016). What is ACCESS? Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

Douglas Research Centre

6625 LaSalle Blvd



Record Entry Date - 2018-02-19
Record Updated On - 2022-01-17
Date modified: