Toronto – 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.
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 underserved 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.” – Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health