Public Spirit Award

Project start: August 2023

Partners: Vamos (partnership between, Humanize and the Lemann Foundation)


The Public Spirit Award (PEP) is an award from civil society aimed at valuing and recognizing the trajectories of public initiatives and professionals who are dedicated to promoting quality public services. In addition to the award, the project also promotes impactful government initiatives and programs with public recognition, monetary prizes, networking and immersive experiences, generating greater recognition for professionals in the public sector. 

The PEP has been run five times, during which it has recognized people and projects from 22 Brazilian states, awarded prizes to more than 80 people/projects and received more than 5,000 applications from different areas of the public sector. 

In 2023, the Cactus Institute joined Vamos as a partner to co-create an unprecedented category for the PEP to identify and provide visibility to initiatives focused on Adolescent Mental Health. This category relies on a popular vote for its award and focuses on recognizing projects the objective of which is to prevent illness and promote the mental health of young people between the ages of 10 and 19. The projects are carried out in the most varied areas, with promotion of mental health as the main objective, as well as the ability to present the complexity and multifactorial nature of mental health, especially in the young population. 

With the creation of this category for the 2023 PEP, the Cactus Institute is reinforcing its commitment to strengthening the mental health of adolescents, as it understands that this transitional phase between childhood and adulthood presents challenges and biopsychosocial changes that can lead to the development of mental health disorders in adulthood. We hope that this award category will motivate, drive and encourage the creation and backing of projects focused on the prevention of illness and promotion of adolescent mental health as a means of building a society with more mental health access and resources. 

Expected results

  • Co-creation of an unprecedented PEP 2023/2024 category focused on adolescent mental health.
  • Greater recognition and projection of public initiatives focused on the issue.
  • Greater awareness among society and public managers of the need to create multi-factorial projects to address the mental health of young people.
  • Encourage projects and initiatives that address the issue of adolescent mental health in an effective and coordinated way.

Potential lessons for the ecosystem

  • Identification and systematization of best practices for mental health interventions by public administration intended for young people.
  • Identification of gaps related to promoting mental health in adolescents, thus opening up the opportunity for dialog and development of more projects.
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