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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