Kids Help Phone marks 25th anniversary with new mobile Internet tool
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:41PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1:12PM EST
To help mark the 25th anniversary of the Kids Help Phone, the free Canadian counselling service is are launching a new online and mobile tool to help make mental health services and other important programs and services more accessible.
Called "Resources Around Me," the program helps young people connect with counsellors across the country and/or find shelters within their own communities.
"Mental health is a very important issue," Dr. Kellie Leitch, the Minister of Labour and Status of Women, said in a release. "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."
To help launch the program, Bell donated $2.5 million, the largest corporate gift to Kids Help Phone yet.
"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," Sharon Wood, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, said in a release.
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been providing free professional counselling services to children and teenagers across Canada, including Stephanie MusKat.
As a young girl, Muskat used to call Kids Help Phone several times a day, after she witnessed her mother being stabbed while on vacation. The traumatic experience left a deep emotional scar, causing years of anxiety that made it difficult for Muskat to make it through high school.
"During that terrible year, I called Kids Help Phone sometimes three or four times a day, in the morning, at lunch, after school and often at night," Muskat said.
Now 24, Muskat says she is grateful to Kids Help Phone.
"There were times in my life where I could barely imagine a future for myself. I was struggling to cope just with the present," said Muskat, who attended the announcement of the new program in Toronto on Wednesday.
On Jan. 28, 2014, Bell will mark its fourth annual "Let's Talk" event, a day devoted to raising money for mental health awareness.
Six-time Olympic medallist Clara Hughes, who suffered from severe depression for two years after he first Olympic Games in Atlanta, will embark on a cross-country bike next spring as part of the national campaign.
In addition to radio stations and websites, Bell Media owns dozens of conventional and specialty television stations including CTV News.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness