Mental Health


Grassroot Soccer is leveraging the power of soccer to equip young people with the support and skills for improved mental health throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

The Challenge

Poor mental health is the most critical health issue facing young people globally, with 1 in 4 young people experiencing a mental health condition. Mental health is integral to adolescents’ overall health outcomes and affects other acute health issues, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH), gender-based violence, and HIV. The outlook for young people in sub-Saharan Africa is even worse. The region has a higher prevalence of mental health conditions yet fewer resources for mental health care than other parts of the world. The result is that more than 90% of young people in need of mental health services will never receive them.

Adolescence represents the key window of opportunity to promote good mental health and treat disease, with 75% of adult mental health conditions surfacing by age 24. If left untreated, these conditions will get worse as they progress into adulthood and lead to more severe consequences.

Grassroot Soccer’s Mental Health Solution

Grassroot Soccer is working to improve the mental health and well-being of young people in communities at heightened risk of poor mental health and with limited access to information and services. Grassroot Soccer’s model, based on input from world-leading mental health professionals and over 20 years of experience working with adolescents, improves young people’s mental health and well-being through a resilient mind, healthy body, and strong support network.


Grassroot Soccer’s mental health programming is aligned with the WHO’s Intervention Pyramid for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.

We’ve developed programs that address a broad range of mental health needs among adolescents.

Grassroot Soccer integrates basic mental health promotion content into its foundational adolescent health programs (SKILLZ), and is also engaging youth through MindSKILLZ, our signature adolescent mental health promotion program. MindSKILLZ targets key determinants of positive mental health through simple strategies based on global evidence and Grassroot Soccer’s own research.

The MindSKILLZ package of resources includes:


What participants and community members are saying:

For more information on Grassroot Soccer’s adolescent mental health work:

  1. 2023 Reflections on Integrating Mental Health into Youth Programming
  2. 2022 Mental Health Impact Report
  3. MindSKILLZ Magazine Zambia Phase 1 Evaluation
  4. MINDSET Evaluation

For partnership inquiries or to learn more, please contact: Chris Barkley, Technical Advisor, Mental Health, at