TORONTO, May 6, 2010 To commemorate National Child and Youth Mental Health Day tomorrow, RBC is pleased to announce its largest gift to date through the RBC Children's Mental Health Project: a $600,000 pledge to support the "Healthy Minds - Healthy Families" program offered by Healthy Minds Canada (HMC), formerly known as the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.
"Healthy Minds - Healthy Families" is a three-year program designed to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues in children by educating and training young people, families and communities. RBC's funding will go toward developing and delivering "Mental Health First Aid" training for adults who work directly with young people to improve their ability to identify and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health problems. HMC is partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) to provide this important training to 200 of BGCC's youth-serving staff across the country.
"I would like to thank RBC for its leadership and dedication to improving the mental health of young people across this country," said Michael Howlett, HMC Chair and Past President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada(MHCC). "This important partnership with RBC will help us educate those in a position to support children and youth at a crucial time in their lives."
"Every day, caring staff at Boys and Girls Clubs across the country work with young people to help them deal with a range of complex challenges," said Pam Jolliffe, President and CEO, BGCC. "Thanks to RBC's commitment, our staff will receive this important "Mental Health First Aid" training to better assist our children and youth in handling these challenges, so they can grow up healthy and achieve their dreams."
One-in-five Canadians will experience mental illness during their lifetime, with many of these disorders beginning in childhood or adolescence.
"Families are often reluctant to seek treatment if children need mental health services because of the social stigma, but if the signs of mental illness are recognized and addressed early on, many children can lead normal, productive and happy lives," said Dr. David Wolfe, RBC chair in Children's Mental Health at the Child Youth and Family Program at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. "The cost of mental illness to our healthcare system is in the neighbourhood of $8 billion, but the emotional strain on families is incalculable. That's why RBC's support to help kick-start this critical program is so significant."
RBC Children's Mental Health Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support early intervention and public education programs in Canada. Launched in 2009, RBC has already donated more than $3 million to 69 community-based and hospital programs that are committed to improving the health and well-being of Canadian children. Applications for funding are accepted throughout the year.
RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2009-2010 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the DJSI North American Index. RBC has been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers, one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers, one of Canada's 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations and one of the Best Workplaces in Canada. As one of Canada's largest corporate donors, RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives, through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2009, RBC contributed more than $105 million to community causes worldwide, through donations of more than $52.6 million, and an additional $52.5 million in sponsorship of community events and national organizations.
HMC is a national charity that funds mental health research and helps to improve service and support systems for the millions of Canadians affected by mental health problems by education families, teachers and service providers about mental health research outcomes and best practices. HMC operates at arm's length from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).
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Gillian McArdle, RBC Media Relations, 416 974-5506