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About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > RBC invests $1.3 million to develop first-of-its-kind technology platform to support youth mental health

RBC invests $1.3 million to develop first-of-its-kind technology platform to support youth mental health

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone’s multi-modal platform will revolutionize the way young people access and experience mental healthcare in Canada

TORONTO, May 6, 2020 - Kids Help Phone is grateful to announce that RBC Foundation (RBC) has committed $1.3 million to developing a ground-breaking multi-modal technology platform that will enable more service capacity to meet record demand and forever change the way young people access and experience mental healthcare in Canada.

A first of its kind world-wide, the multi-modal platform will integrate Kids Help Phone’s texting, live chat and phone services onto one single platform, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to triage users by the severity of their need. The platform will ensure that every young person reaching out for mental health support receives the level of care they require, the moment they need it.

RBC’s gift represents its largest investment in Kids Help Phone to date and includes immediate support to help the organization continue to meet the unprecedented demand for its services as young people struggle with the complex impacts of COVID-19. Compared to this time last year, service volumes are up by 112 per cent, while conversations specifically related to the pandemic have increased by 400 per cent since March 12.

“RBC’s investment will ignite a new era for mental healthcare in Canada,” says Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “The future integration of our services onto one single platform, powered by the world’s most advanced AI and machine learning technology for e-mental health solutions, means that no young person will ever be left waiting for support in a moment of crisis.”

“Through effective triaging and by enabling our professional counsellors and volunteer Crisis Responders to handle multiple non-verbal conversations at one time, this platform will dramatically enhance our ability to be there, immediately, for every young person making contact with us,” she continues. “We are incredibly grateful to RBC for building on their longstanding support of 30-years. They have continued to invest in new and expanded solutions, maximizing access to immediate mental health supports.”

“We recognize the importance of mental well-being on a young person’s ability to achieve success and their success directly impacts the strength of our workplaces, schools and communities,” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “Our commitment to youth mental well-being through RBC Future Launch is focused on prevention and early intervention programs to help provide young people timely access to knowledge, supports and care, when and where they need it. Through our important partnership with Kids Help Phone on the multi-modal platform, we will help address the barriers often faced by young people when trying to access the supports they need. We could not be more proud to be a key partner in this game changing development.”

The multi-modal platform, which will be built on the technology used by Kids Help Phone’s nationwide texting service, Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, is expected to launch in 2021.  

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For more information, or to request an interview, please contact:
Lindsey Coulter
Director, Strategic Communications & Community Engagement
Kids Help Phone
lindsey.coulter@kidshelpphone.ca | 647-390-4841

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 85,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.‎

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-social-impact

About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada's only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support in English and French to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone and online chat or through text message with Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone in any moment of crisis or need. Through our digital transformation, we envision a future where every person in Canada is able to get the support they need, when they need it most and we have most recently realized that through Crisis Text Line Canada. This innovation is fueled by courageous donors, partners, volunteers and more. Learn more at KidsHelpPhone.ca or @KidsHelpPhone.