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Kids Help Phone aims to raise record $300M to expand virtual mental health care

Help line assisted 14 million kids and youth in Canada during pandemic

The Kids Help Phone launched its largest ever fundraising campaign Thursday (March 2), with the goal of making its services accessible to all kids and youth in Canada.

The mental health organization is aiming to raise $300 million.

It says the mental health crisis in Canada has only worsened during pandemic years and action is needed to expand help.

In 2019, the help line had 1.9 million interactions with kids in need. In the three years since then, it’s logged another 14 million encounters – around 4.7 million a year.

“War, trauma, social injustice, racism, climate change – young people are facing these real issues in real time,” CEO and President Katherine Hay said Thursday.

The primary issues the help line says it hears about are anxiety and stress, relationship issues, depression, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of isolation. Of the kids who reach out, 75 per cent say they’ve never spoken to someone before about what they’re experiencing.

The Feel Out Loud campaign aims to expand access to clinical services and invest more in virtual options to close the equity gap for kids living in rural or remote areas, or otherwise impeded in getting help.

On Thursday, Bell and BMO each pledged $15 million to kick things off.

More than 50 musical artists across Canada also came together to create an anthem for the launch, to the tune of Serena Ryder’sWhat I Wouldn’t Do’and Leela Gilday’s ‘North Star Calling.’

Youth and kids in need can reach the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, text to 686868, or go online to kidshelpphone.ca

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