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RBC addresses accessibility of youth mental health resources with digitally-focused partnerships

In recognition of National Child & Youth Mental Health Day, RBC is supporting e-mental health in rural and urban communities through its partnerships with CAMH and other youth mental health initiatives

TORONTO, May 7, 2021 - Over the past year, the demand for virtual youth mental health services has sharply increased. Responding to this urgent need, RBC has strengthened its support of partners to help address the barriers to accessibility. Through the RBC Foundation and the RBC Future Launch commitment, RBC supports more than 150 youth mental health organizations across the country, making it one of the largest supporters of youth mental well-being resources in Canada.

A recent RBC Future Launch Youth Outlook study (executed by Ipsos) of 1,800 young Canadians aged 14 to 29 illustrates the need for mental health support for youth:

  • 52% of respondents said the pandemic was negatively impacting their mental health and emotional well-being
  • One-third of respondents said they think about how to manage their mental health at work or school ‘often’ or ‘all the time’
  • 42% of respondents said they think about having a trusted person to confide in when they are struggling ‘often’ or ‘all the time’

RBC enhanced its partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) by committing to the development of Youth Wellness Hubs of Ontario (YWHO)’s new innovative digital platform. The support is dedicated to adapting the YWHO’s resources to be more accessible remotely, particularly for young people living in rural communities. The 10 youth-friendly, integrated-service Hubs started opening in communities across Ontario in 2017. In 2019 and in 2020, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the hubs experienced more than 14,585 visits, preventing over 559 hospital visits.

CAMH has been able to pivot some of the YWHO’s offerings virtually, but will now focus on a new digital platform to be designed in collaboration with youth and their families, service providers, e-health scholars and government stakeholders. The virtual one-stop-shop service platform will provide youth with access to a range of developmentally-appropriate resources that reflect the YWHO's integrated model of service delivery, and ensure access is interwoven seamlessly with in-person services.

“Because of support from partners like RBC, YWHO can continue to meet the unique needs of young people experiencing various mental health concerns, including substance use. This means expanding YWHO’s virtual reach so that it’s accessible to youth everywhere, when they need it,” said Dr. Joanna Henderson, Senior Scientist at CAMH, and Executive Director of the YWHO program. “There’s never been a more crucial time to support life-changing initiatives like YWHO. I am incredibly grateful to work with such a devoted group of people at YWHO, and alongside such generous partners at RBC, as we create better tomorrows for young people across Ontario.”

“Young Canadians have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – especially when it comes to their mental well-being. This is especially true for individuals in rural and remote communities who may not have in-person access to mental health supports,” said Mark Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “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. That is why we remain committed to helping our partners provide the mental health supports and services needed to address the barriers often faced by young people when trying to access the resources they need.”

RBC has also expanded its support of other mental health partners committed to accessible digital e-mental health resources. These partnerships include, Togetherall, and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre Foundation (QEII Foundation). The initiatives will help expand the impact of youth mental health resources from peer-to-peer support to innovative youth-led digital platforms.

For more information on available e-mental health resources, visit RBC Future Launch.

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For more information, please contact:
Lia McKay, Stellick Marketing Communications, 416-738-4322