TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kids Help Phone, Bell and Kids Help Phone today announced the largest-ever corporate donation in the organization's history. Totalling $2.5 million, Bell's gift to Kids Help Phone will enable innovative new technology initiatives to support the mental health and well-being of young people across Canada.
"Bell is proud to have been there from the start for Kids Help Phone and to have helped the organization deliver innovative services for young people in Canada over the last quarter century," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "To mark this important milestone, Bell Let's Talk is investing $2.5 million more in Kids Help Phone to enable national technology-driven communications initiatives that ensure young people can access mental health and counseling support whenever and wherever they need it."
"To think of the millions of young people across Canada who have benefitted from the programs that Kids Help Phone has implemented with Bell's support is astounding," said Sharon Wood, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. "Kicking off a new year with such a tremendous gift is exciting, uplifting, and, most of all, inspiring, because I know it means that kids are going to get support when they need it most. Thanks to Bell's generosity, Kids Help Phone will be able to continue to be there for every young person in Canada, whether they come to us for help over the phone, online, or through new innovations like Resources Around Me, an amazing interactive tool we are launching today with Bell's support."
"Mental health is a very important issue both for our government and for me personally," said The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. "As a practicing physician, I regularly work with and see children who have experienced difficult situations. It is reassuring to know that they have a place to turn - Kids Help Phone and Bell provide an invaluable service for millions of young people in Canada."
Bell's leadership gift will support the development and enhancement of innovative technologies to enhance youth mental health services, including:
Online counselling through Live Chat - Bell is the leading donor supporting Kids Help Phone's new, innovative and highly in-demand counselling platform. Live Chat counselling lets young people connect one-on-one in real time with a professional Kids Help Phone counsellor from a computer or mobile device. In 2014, Kids Help Phone's counsellors will be spending a total of 10,000 hours dedicated to Live Chat counselling. This service is of particular value to young people facing serious mental health issues, as evidenced by the high rates of Live Chat usage by young people struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Phone and web post counselling services - Bell is also helping to support Kids Help Phone's professional counselling services to young people via phone and web post. In 2014, Bell's support will enable counsellors to spend 520 hours helping young people work through the challenges they face by phone and online via web post.
Continued service innovation through technology - As new technologies arise and become relevant to the lives of young people, Bell's funding will allow Kids Help Phone to meet their emerging needs. In 2014, this includes additional funding as a lead donor for Resources Around Me. Resources Around Me is a youth-friendly tool now available on Kids Help Phone's Always There mobile app and website, which provides young people with the ability to instantly find local services and support programs in their community, such as food banks, shelters, health clinics, or counselling centres. To view the web version of the tool, please visit kidshelpphone.ca/resourcesaroundme.
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been providing professional counselling services, mental health information and resources for kids, teens, and young adults across Canada. As a founding partner of Kids Help Phone, Bell has a proud legacy of support over the years for many innovative programs that have increased young people's access to Kids Help Phone's vital mental health support. Over the past 25 years, Bell's contributions have included support for the launch of Kids Help Phone's telephone counselling service in 1989 and the development of its first website in 1996, corporate and employee support for Kids Help Phone's signature national fundraising event - the Walk so Kids Can Talk - since 2002, and significant contributions towards the Always There mobile app and the pilot of Live Chat counselling in 2012.
About Kids Help Phone Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for its expertise in providing vital, innovative, and professional counselling services to children and youth. Since 1989 Kids Help Phone has offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support, through its free, anonymous and confidential service. Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone. The organization's internationally recognized, award-winning websites are considered a model of child-focused interactive design, and offer online counselling forums and engaging, therapeutic games, tools and information to encourage resilience and self-care. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no guaranteed ongoing financial support from government or any large funder and relies on community and corporate support to keep our essential service available. We're there for the *6.5 million young people in Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and in French.
*Source: represents the age group Kids Help Phone serves (from five to 20) according to Statistics Canada, 2012.
For information on service evaluations that have shown Kids Help Phone leads to significant improvements in youth mental health, please visit kidshelpphone.ca/proofpositive.
Bell Let's Talk Day is January 28 The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a national charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada with significant funding for community care, research and workplace best practices, and fights the stigma around mental illness with high-profile events like Bell Let's Talk Day. Set for January 28, 2014, the fourth annual Bell Let's Talk Day invites Canadians to join the conversation and help end the stigma around mental illness.
On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents for every text, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk Day image. Bell's donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let's Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply. To date, Bell has already committed to invest $62,043,289.30 in Canadian mental health, based on its original $50 million commitment and participation in Bell Let's Talk Day since 2011.
About Bell Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business customers with leading TV, Internet, wireless, home phone and business communications solutions. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.