At Frayme, we know that it is critical to include individuals with lived expertise as partners in the design, planning, implementation, and evaluation of mental health and substance use services and supports. Frayme’s mandate is to ensure that the perspectives and learnings generated by lived expertise are integrated into efforts to improve the quality and responsiveness of services across the system. Infrastructure within Frayme has been created to ensure that there are mechanisms and processes in place to support the meaningful and equitable engagement of youth, caregivers and advocates through Groundbreakers, Frayme’s National Lived Expertise Network. The underpinning to this work is that of knowledge equity, a social justice approach concerned with the power and privilege associated with knowledge production and consumption. 

Groundbreakers is Frayme’s new national network of youth, caregivers, and mental health 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. That’s why we’re creating Canada’s premier leadership network for those who want to contribute to systemic change in the Youth Mental Health and Substance Use sector. Groundbreakers will have the opportunity to inform mental health projects across the country, participate in various learning and granting activities, and share their unique knowledge with Frayme’s unparalleled network of over 300 partner organizations. It’s time to be heard.

If you're wondering "Why Groundbreakers?" and/or "Why now?", please refer to our Statement of Purpose for more information on the rationale, Frayme's triangulation of evidence and an overview about the initiative:


Statement of Purpose



Youth Cohort: Individuals in this group identify as either a youth in Canada and/or a youth who has experienced mental health and/or substance use challenges.

Caregiver Cohort: Individuals in this group identify as having provided some sort of support to a youth in their life facing mental health and/or substance use challenges, such as a child, sibling, friend or romantic partner. Caregiver responsibilities can be all sorts of things, including but not limited to helping a loved one find a service to access, administering medication, or providing emotional support.

Аdvocate Cohort: Individuals in this group may have a passion for youth mental health or substance use, but do not identify as a youth, nor do they have experience as a caregiver. Individuals in this group may have faced mental health or substance use challenges when they were a youth, but have since "Aged Out" of youth services.

To register:

Please complete our welcome survey

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To connect with the Frayme Engagement Team, reach out at