Government of Canada invests $3 million to support youth mental wellness

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Funding supports Kids Help Phone project to scale and adapt community-based programs.

Toronto, ON, October 7, 2022, Public Health Agency of Canada — While many people in Canada struggle with mental health challenges, some young people are at a greater risk of developing a mental illness due to racism, discrimination, cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, their living conditions and overall lack of access to quality support and services. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing these disparities and promoting mental health for everyone, particularly those who face social and health inequities.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced $3 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to support the mental wellness of young people from Indigenous, Black, newcomer and equity-deserving communities across Canada, including those in rural and remote regions.

To reach these communities, Kids Help Phone will expand two programs. The first program, Weaving Threads, currently reaches Ontario Indigenous communities. It will be scaled up to reach Indigenous communities nationally, and will also be adapted for national delivery to Black and newcomer communities.

Kids Help Phone will also expand its Counsellor in the Classroom program, which aims to demystify and de-stigmatize help-seeking behaviour by giving elementary students a glimpse into how Kids Help Phone counsellors can support them with their mental health. The program will be delivered nationally to Grade 4 and 5 students in both official languages through digital, virtual and in-person formats.

This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Increasing resources and removing barriers to mental health care for children and youth in Canada, especially those in underserved communities, is a priority for our government. Today’s funding to Kids Help Phone will help more young people from coast to coast to coast access the tools they need to support themselves and their peers, and will help to spread the message that it’s ok to not feel ok and that they are not alone.” — The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“Today’s announcement of a $3 million investment to help us support the mental health of young people from Indigenous, Black and equity-deserving communities across Canada, shows the Government of Canada’s commitment to mental health for all. These much-needed community based, e-mental health programs will expand Kids Help Phone’s reach and provide support to young people who need it. We are a safe space for young people — providing bilingual support, 24/7, in every province and territory, for any problem they are facing, big or small.” — Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone

Quick facts

  • One in three Canadians indicated their mental health got worse due to the pandemic.
  • Community-based projects focused on mental health promotion have the potential to improve health outcomes over the life course.
  • Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are complement mental health care services and can help reduce demands on the health care system.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of people in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, the Hope for Wellness Helpline is available to all Indigenous people across Canada. Experienced and culturally competent counsellors are reachable by telephone and online “chat” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both telephone and online chat services are available in English and French. Telephone support is also available upon request in Cree, Ojibway, (Anishinaabemowin) and Inuktitut.
  • Kids Help Phone saw the demand for their services grow by over 137% in 2020 compared to the year prior, demonstrating a strong need to support youth and their mental health within Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French.
  • You can also access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth). The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals.

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