New partnership: Kids Help Phone & BlackNorth Initiative

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Kids Help Phone data shows Black youth reaching out for mental health support around racism are among the most distressed service users

“We are fighting a fight we did not start. All the time.” — Black youth, Kids Help Phone service user

TORONTO, ON (February 4, 2021) — Today Kids Help Phone and BlackNorth Initiative announce a new partnership committed to closing the gaps and reducing barriers to mental health support for Black youth in Canada. Black youth in this country are facing a mental health crisis from systemic anti-Black racism made worse by the disproportionate effects of COVID-19. This partnership will bring the needs and voices of the community together with the largest youth e-mental health charity in Canada.

With the alarming rise of anti-Black racism in North America, Kids Help Phone’s data reveals that Black service users experiencing racism are the most distressed of all service users, second only to those who fear harm within their home. Black youth are facing a tsunami of mental health crises in Canada; however, statistics suggest Black youth are 47% less likely to seek mental health support compared to white youth1. Kids Help Phone and BlackNorth Initiative are committed to ending the stigma of mental health and removing the barriers to support created by the systemic impact of anti-Black racism.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with BlackNorth Initiative as together, we align to listen, understand and act to support underserved Black youth, nation-wide” said, Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. “As one of the first signatories committing to the BlackNorth Initiative to remove barriers created by anti-Black racism, Kids Help Phone continues our journey with purpose. We are thankful to BlackNorth Initiative for their leadership and guidance in this important work.”

Committed to action, BlackNorth Initiative leads a coalition of over 400 business leaders on a mission to end anti-Black racism by increasing diversity, access and inclusion of Black people in boardrooms, policymaking and system access.

“To remove the barriers created by systemic anti-Black racism, we will need to build new systems and processes designed with and for the Black community,” said Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, Executive Director, BlackNorth Initiative. “Partnering with Kids Help Phone to expand reach and services for Black youth will not only benefit this generation, but generations to come.”

This partnership aims to end mental health stigma in the Black community, which has historically prevented Black youth from reaching out for support. This issue has led to increased levels of depression, anxiety and suicide among the Black community.

Join us in supporting Black youth initiatives — we invite you to give here.

1 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160812132708.htm

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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 or through text or in self-directed supports 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, however they need it. Kids Help Phone gratefully relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, stakeholder partners, corporate partners and governments to fuel and fund our programs. Learn more at KidsHelpPhone.ca or follow us:

Twitter: @KidsHelpPhone

Facebook: @KidsHelpPhone

Instagram: @KidsHelpPhone

ABOUT BLACKNORTH INITIATIVE

The BlackNorth Initiative was created by The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism to combat anti-Black systemic racism in Corporate Canada. The initiative challenges senior Canadian business leaders to commit their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.

For more information, or to book an interview, please contact:

Lindsey Coulter, Kids Help Phone | 647-390-4841 | lindsey.coulter@kidshelpphone.ca

Constantina Ellinas, Kids Help Phone | 416-209-8890 | constantina.ellinas@kidshelpphone.ca