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Kids Help Phone Launches Largest Youth Mental Health Movement, Feel Out Loud, to Address Crisis in Canada

Press Release

TORONTO, March 2, 2023 – Kids Help Phone today launches Feel Out Loud, a historic, national movement anchored by a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $300 million to reach young people in every corner of Canada by 2024 by expanding access to its e-mental health services.

As part of today’s announcement, Kids Help Phone’s founding partners Bell Canada and BMO Financial Group have each pledged a transformational investment of 15 $million to this movement. Their commitment willallow Kids Help Phone to scale e-mental health access to support in communities across Canada. Further, Mirko Bibic, President and CEO, BCE and Bell Canada and Darryl White, CEO of BMO Financial Group stand as Honourary Co-Chairs of the Feel Out Loud Campaign Cabinet.

Young people have connected with Kids Help Phone more than 14 million times since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as Canada’s only national free, confidential, 24/7, multilingual e-mental health service dedicated to youth.

The primary concerns of youth seeking mental health support are anxiety and stress, relationship issues, depression, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of isolation. These concerns have become increasingly complex over time, necessitating additional support. For instance, according to data from Kids Help Phone, individuals who experience racism are among the most distressed service users, second only to those who fear harm in their home.

Additionally, these young people who experience racism are more likely to express suicidal ideation. Feel Out Loud is the most significant and urgent movement for youth mental health in Canada’s history, rallying the entire country to invest in youth mental health, shaping the future for young people in Canada. As technology continues to change, Kids Help Phone will scale its e-mental health coverage and realize a future where every young person in Canada can access safe and trusted support without obstacles, especially those who face barriers to accessing mental health supports to meet a diversity of need and issues. The $300 million raised will allow Kids Help Phone to:

  • Expand clinical service across Canada by rapidly scaling access to mental health services that meet the extraordinary, unique needs of all youth.
  • Close the mental health equity gap for youth in Canada with investments in e-mental health solutions to create services and programs where equity-deserving communities can feel seen, heard and safe.
  • Transform Canada’s e-mental health landscape for youth and mental health through investment and innovation in virtual care by continuing to expand and evolve the virtual care system, powered by data, research, partnership and advocacy.

To kick off the campaign, Artists for Feel Out Loud, a collective of 50+ music artists from across Canada, have come together to record an anthem in support of Kids Help Phone’s initiative to help all young people in Canada feel out loud and express their emotions in a safe and supported way. Music produced by Bob Ezrin and executive produced by andy Lennox (Loft Entertainment) and Carrie Mudd&n (Peacock Alley Entertainment), the anthem titled “What I Wouldn’t Do (North Star Calling)” weaves Serena Ryder’s inspiring message and profound lyrics from the song “What I Wouldn’t Do” with Leela Gilday’s sonically beautiful bridge from “North Star Calling’”. The anthem’s accompanying music video, produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment, is also available today at 12 p.m. EST will have its broadcast premiere on March 4, 2023 on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app at 8 p.m. EST ahead of the Buffy Sainte-Marie documentary, Carry it On.

Now more than ever, Feel Out Loud calls on philanthropists, corporations, community organizations, extraordinary individuals and families to realize this goal of $300 million.

FAST FACTS

  • Feel Out Loud is a call-to-action on behalf of the 8.2 million young people in this country who need space to express and explore all their feelings in a safe and non-judgemental way.
  • 75 per cent of young people share something with Kids Help Phone they’ve never shared with anyone else.
  • 86 per cent of young people feel better after connecting with Kids Help Phone.
  • Over 20 exceptional philanthropic and business leaders from coast to coast to coast have joined Kids Help Phone’s Feel Out Loud Campaign Cabinet to propel this unprecedented movement and help close gaps in Canada’s mental health care system. For the full list of Cabinet members, click here.

QUOTES

“Keeping your feelings in can weigh you down. Since we took the first calls in 1989, young people’s challenges have become more complex. Still, 75 per cent of young people tell Kids Help Phone something they’ve never told anyone else before—which lets us know that they trust us. Feel Out Loud is about breaking down barriers to mental health services and supports by creating more space for young people to express themselves, feel seen, heard, and have their feelings validated safe from judgement, in the ways that work best for them,” said Katherine Hay, President & CEO, Kids Help Phone.

“As founding partner of Kids Help Phone, Bell has been there from the start to help young people all around Canada get access to innovative mental health supports and services. On behalf of Bell and as Honourary Co-Chair of the Feel Out Loud campaign, I am pleased to announce our $15 million investment for youth mental health. This gift builds on our legacy of working with Kids Help Phone for more than 30 years and represents Bell’s ongoing commitment to take action and create positive change for all young people in Canada,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO, BCE and Bell Canada and Honourary Co-Chair of Feel Out Loud Campaign.

“Young people are acutely affected by mental health challenges but are often the least equipped to deal with them. By supporting Kids Help Phone, we’re challenging the mental health crisis today’s youth are facing and making an investment in our shared future. At BMO we’re here to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, and we’re committed to making progress for an inclusive society. That’s a perfect match for how Kids Help Phone is strengthening Canada’s youth mental health ecosystem by actively removing barriers for all young people to Feel Out Loud. We’ve been supporting Kids Help Phone since the very beginning, and with this $15 million commitment we’re ensuring they’ll be there 24/7 for generations of kids to come,” said, Darryl White, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group and Honourary Co-Chair of Feel Out Loud Campaign.

“We are honoured to contribute to this incredible cause. Nothing is more important to the health of our country than the mental health of all youth,” said Bob Ezrin, Music Producer, Artists for Feel Out Loud and Randy Lennox, Executive Producer, Artists for Feel Out Loud and Music and Media Executive.

A fully integrated national advertising campaign supporting Feel Out Loud will begin March 4th. McCann Canada is the agency of record for Kids Help Phone and created the campaign’s supporting advertising campaign.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national, e-mental health service offering free, confidential, multilingual support to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone or through text or in self-directed supports in any moment of crisis or need. Through our digital transformation, we envision a future where every person in Canada is able to feel out loud and get the support they need, when they need it most. Kids Help Phone gratefully relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, stakeholder partners, corporate partners and governments to fuel and fund our programs. Learn more at KidsHelpPhone.ca.

For further information:

Kait Ward, Weber Shandwick, Director, Integrated Media, kward@webershandwick.com or (647) 970-5248;
Lindsey Coulter, Kids Help Phone, Vice-President Corporate, Campaign Communication, Donor Relations, lindsey.coulter@kidshelpphone.ca or (647) 390-4841

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