TORONTO, October 4, 2012 - Today the RBC Children's Mental Health Project marked Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada by announcing $4.4 million in total grants to be shared by 10 organizations nationwide. The funding covers a wide range of programs, such as a national 24/7 phone and online counselling service for kids, a program for new Canadian and refugee children and families, as well as anti-stigma and suicide prevention programs aimed at teens.
"One-in-five Canadians will experience mental illness during their lifetime, with many of these disorders beginning in childhood or adolescence," said Jamie Anderson, deputy chair of RBC Capital Markets and executive champion of the RBC Children's Mental Health Project. "Most families don't have a plan until they have to cope with a mental health struggle and it can be a scramble for parents and caregivers to find information they trust and the proper services to help. We hope that this donation is a step towards making those services more accessible."
In a recent poll by RBC, the majority of Canadian parents (53 per cent) admit that finding information they can trust on the topic of children's mental health is a nightmare and over half (58 per cent) feel overwhelmed by the volume of information available.
"Today, we are privileged to invest in 10 organizations that provide much-needed information and resources to help parents, families, kids and teens, in addition to the support we have given to other community children's mental health programs throughout 2012," Anderson added.
A national grant of $1 million will go to Kids Help Phone, Canada's only nationwide service that provides professional, individualized, confidential, bilingual, free counselling, information and referrals directly to young people from coast to coast to coast. The grant will allow Kids Help Phone to ramp up its delivery of a Canadian first: a live chat/online service for kids who prefer online chatting over talking on the phone.
"I would like to thank RBC for its leadership and dedication to improving the mental health of young people across this country," said Sharon Wood, President & CEO, Kids Help Phone. "Kids don't have to feel confused, ashamed or alone. Kids Help Phone is always there, no matter the concern. But we can't do it alone. This important partnership with RBC will help empower kids in need to reach out to our professional counsellors when and how they need us most."
Other grants announced today
While RBC is highlighting these 10 donations today, the company has also donated to a range of other community-based and regional organizations for children's mental health programs throughout 2012.
Launched in 2008, the RBC Children's Mental Health Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support early intervention and public education programs in Canada. Including today's announcement, RBC has now committed more than $16 million to community-based and hospital programs that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Canadian children.
RBC employs approximately 80,000 full and part-time people who serve more than 18 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 51 other countries. RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012-2013 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. RBC is also listed on the Jantzi Social Index, the FTSE4Good Index, and the Canadian Carbon Disclosure Project Index.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2011, we contributed more than $97 million to causes worldwide through donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $33 million in sponsorship of community events and national organizations.
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise in providing vital, innovative counselling services to children and youth in English and French. Since 1989 we have offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support through our free, anonymous and confidential service. Our 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 by phone and online. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding 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.
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Matt Gierasimczuk, RBC Communications, 416-974-2124
Pascale Guilotte, Kids Help Phone, 416-581-8974