Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants Program (MHWIGP)

The COVID-19 MHWIGP will provide funding for innovative initiatives from community based mental health service providers, other Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), individuals, and community groups.

These grants give the community an opportunity to think innovatively and creatively to come up with projects that will support the mental health and wellbeing of people in the ACT during this unprecedented time. Successful applications will give focus to the new and emerging mental health and wellbeing needs of the community in relation to the impacts of COVID-19.

There is up to $350,000 in funding available between two grant streams. Each initiative funded through the MHWIGP will be delivered over a maximum of 12 months.

To be funded under these grants, projects will need to be able to contribute to the achievement of one or more of the following outcomes, in relation to the impacts of COVID-19:

  1. People in the ACT community are supported to maintain connection and overarching mental health and wellbeing through:
    1. Participating in recovery-focused activities that promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
    2. Building Resilience – promoting mental health and wellbeing literacy, help seeking behaviours, and resources for self-management (anxiety, depression) for the broader community.
    3. Protecting and promoting wellbeing and connection – for example, addressing loneliness through creativity.
  2. People in the ACT community can access mental health and wellbeing supports that meet their needs, including:
    1. Programs that contribute to recovery and reconnection as Canberrans adjust to the evolving COVID-19 situation, including initiatives that support the community as it begins to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic.
    2. Addressing mental health and wellbeing needs of people who have suffered unemployment and economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.
    3. Supporting and enabling management of medium to longer term mental health implications of continued financial hardship, uncertainty over the personal and family impact of COVID-19; and increased time and support needed to process loss and grief over the death of loved ones, family conflict, changed family relationships, loss of education, income and status.

MWHIGP Funded Applications

A total of 98 applications were received across the Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants Program (MHWIGP) – 57 applications in the Organisation Grants Stream and 41 in the Community Grants Stream.

ACT Health Directorate is delighted at the interest in the program from people who want to make a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of our community.

The program allocated $350,000 across two grant streams:

  • Organisation Grants – A total of $300,000 available for proposals up to $75,000 from eligible organisations, schools and accredited early childhood services and out of hours school programs that have the capacity and ability to reach larger numbers of people in the ACT community.
  • Community Grants – for proposals up to $10,000 from individuals, community groups, smaller organisations and local networks to deliver programs and activities for neighbourhoods, local communities, cultural and identity groups and communities of shared interest.

A total of $50,000 was originally made available for this funding stream, however due to the incredible number of applications received by Canberrans, a decision was made to allocate an extra $50,800 to the Community Grants Stream. This increased the total available for the Community Grants stream to $100,800.

Funding for this was allocated from the Mental Health Support Package allocation to support emerging mental health and wellbeing needs related to COVID-19 as they become clearer. 

The following applications were successful and will receive funding under the program.

Organisational Grants

Six programs with a combined value of $305,181 (GST exclusive)

Grant recipient


Grant amount

Ted Noffs Foundation

A Canberra ‘virtual youth centre’ based on the Ted Noffs’ Sydney project Street University LIVE.



Mental Health Literacy and Pathways to Volunteering for Young People - a project aimed at unemployed and underemployed young people.


Australian Red Cross Society

Culture Talks and Mental Health Matters - wraparound support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reintegrating into the community after having been involved in the criminal justice system.


Companion House Assisting Survivors of Torture and Trauma

Gather, Listen, Celebrate - enabling connection through celebrating the contribution of refugee communities who have provided essential work in the ACT over the course of the pandemic.


Palliative Care ACT

Palliative Care carer respite - supporting the wellbeing and mental health of family carers supporting terminally-ill loved ones, the challenges of which have increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Feros Care

Creative Expressions Program - a series of multi-modal art workshops to enable connections and expression for people with psycho-social disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.


Community Grants

14 programs with a combined value of $100,800 (GST exclusive)

Grant recipient


Grant amount

Individual applicant (name withheld)

Stand Up Snacks - a pilot to support emergency department staff through bite-sized conversations about mental health, resilience and stress-relief. It will combine discussions with hands-on mini workshops, mediation and gentle exercise to support wellbeing.


Girl Guides ACT & SE NSW Region

Mental Health First Aid Training program for Girl Guides Leaders in the ACT - training to equip group leaders with skills to respond to the mental health needs of their members.


Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT

A glimpse into the effects of COVID-19 seclusion (working title) - utilising theatre to explore how recent experiences have affected our older citizens, their mental health, feelings of loneliness and isolation and their outlook into the future.


The Street Theatre

Tsunami/Resilience - a creative seed bank for systemic change - assisting artists to re-build, rejuvenate and re-imagine their futures in a combination of live workshop, livestreaming, recorded access and mentored processes.


The Scout Association of Australia, ACT Branch

Standing up - a recovery focused short film festival for young people exploring the theme 'standing up' following challenging times.


Individual applicant (name withheld).

Queer Zumba -taking an innovative approach to dance, fitness and social opportunities for Canberra's LGBTIQ+ community to promote mental health and wellbeing.


Good Omen Goodeze

GOG’s Community Threads - a series of therapeutic creative wellbeing groups with participants knitting or crocheting projects such as lap rugs, beanies, quilts and soft toys. Items produced will be gifted to patients in Canberra’s Intensive Care Units and Palliative Care.


University of Canberra

Strength Becomes Her - a strength training program for women to promote mental health and wellbeing for women who have experienced domestic or family violence.


Havelock Housing Association

Nurturing Havelock Community Well-being Leadership Program - a leadership and peer mentoring program for residents of Havelock House Community Housing to promote connection, personal development and confidence, that also has positive impacts for their mental health and wellbeing.


The Food Co-op

Pick it, Cook it, Eat it - Together <3 - utilising ANU Co-Op’s rooftop garden to offer meetups where participants can grow, cook and eat healthy meals together, promoting living skills development, social connection and mental health and wellbeing supports to multicultural students.


Ngunnawal Primary School

Five Ms for Mental Health - a nine week series of workshops including music, movement, meditation, mixed media and mingling for young parents and their children within the Ngunnawal Community, with indoor and outdoor experiences held at the Ngunnawal School.


Charles Conder School

Family Support - supporting parents and carers through training a staff member to deliver the evidence-based Circles of Security and Triple P Parenting and Seasons for Growth programs. The programs support management of behaviours of concern and emotional difficulties in young people within the Coder School community.


Campbell High School

Seasons for Growth - a 10-week grief and loss education program that will run at Campbell High School to support students aged 12-16 who are experiencing grief or loss exacerbated by or related to COVID-19.


Taiwanese Association of Canberra

Online Reunion - targeted mental health and wellbeing online support for the Canberra Taiwanese community.


Contact Details

For further information please email

Page last updated on: 2 Sep 2020