Bell Let’s Talk announces new funding for 5 organizations delivering mental health supports to youth, families and communities in the COVID-19 crisis

Montréal , Thursday, March 26, 2020

• Donations to address urgent need for increased resources with support for Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Mental Health Association, Kids Help Phone, Revivre and Strongest Families Institute
• Red Cross, CMHA and Revivre to enhance service delivery on the front lines of our communities; Kids Help Phone and Strongest Families employing multiple communications platforms to support youth and families in a time of physical and social distancing
• Bell Let’s Talk funding commitment increased by $5 million in response to COVID-19 crisis

Bell Let’s Talk today announced a special program to support 5 organizations delivering mental health support on the front lines of Canadian communities and to kids and families with remote tools in a time of social distancing.

Part of a $5 million increase in Bell Let’s Talk funding in response to COVID-19, donations to Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Kids Help Phone, Revivre and Strongest Families Institute are enabling them to enhance their efforts to support Canadians confronting isolation, anxiety and other challenges during the crisis.

“The biggest public health crisis in a lifetime, COVID-19 demands an unprecedented response across every part of Canadian society, including finding new ways to accelerate the delivery of mental health services in such a challenging time,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. “We’ve increased Bell Let’s Talk funding by $5 million in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis, and are proud to be working with the Red Cross, CMHA, Kids Help Phone, Revivre and Strongest Families to immediately direct new mental health resources where they’re needed most.”

Community response
• Experts in helping communities cope with crisis situations, the Red Cross is providing mental health and psychosocial support by phone, including referrals for available specialized care, and working with other first responders to support those in self isolation.
• CMHA, with its regional and local branches that are on the front line of community mental health care, is working to adapt programming and services to virtual settings and to scale up existing virtual programs nationally.
• Revivre is dedicated to helping people throughout Québec regain control over their mental health, and is implementing new strategies for virtual support programs for anxiety and depression.

Youth and families
• Kids Help Phone is ramping up the capacity of its Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, including recruiting and training responders, and developing new COVID-specific digital content for youth and parents.
• Strongest Families Institute is building out technological and human resources capacity to meet growing demand for its services, including hiring and training more coaches and launching a secure mobile connection to increase connectivity with clients.

“These organizations are all leaders in their fields with effective, evidence-based programming that is already making a difference for Canadians. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, they are all well placed to meet the growing demand from Canadians everywhere for mental health support,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We are proud to help ensure the Red Cross, CMHA, Kids Help Phone, Revivre and Strongest Families Institute have added capacity in place to deliver their vital services as we all face the challenges of COVID-19.”

Bell recently announced the extension of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative for a further 5 years and an increase in total Bell funding for mental health to $150 million by 2025. With the $5 million announced today in response to the COVID-19 crisis, total Bell Let’s Talk funding grows to $155 million.

Canadian Red Cross
“The support provided today from Bell Let’s Talk comes at an essential time when Canadian Red Cross is not only responding to needs emerging across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also preparing for the possibility of floods, wildfires and other disasters that may affect families and communities in the weeks and months ahead,” said Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross. “In addition to providing comfort and care to those in need, the Red Cross also helps provide vital psychosocial support to people as they cope during challenging times, such as these.”

Canadian Mental Health Association - CMHA
“For over 100 years, CMHA has been proud to support Canadians’ mental health in their time of need. This generous support from Bell Let’s Talk will enable us to adapt essential community-level programs, services and supports to provide creative, responsive and vital resources in this trying time,” said Margaret Eaton, national CEO, CMHA. “We may be keeping ourselves at a distance from each other right now – but we need each other more than ever. Thank you, Bell Let’s Talk.”

Kids Help Phone
“We are grateful to Bell for their leadership in inciting critical conversations about mental health and well-being, especially during this unprecedented time,” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. “This support ensures Kids Help Phone can respond to the record surge in the demand for our virtual services providing immediate access to Crisis Responders and counsellors. We are open on the frontlines 24/7. This is what Kids Help Phone was built for, with thanks to Bell as our Founding Partner.”

Revivre
“This donation from Bell Let’s Talk will make it possible to offer our J’avance! workshops in an urgently needed virtual format, providing quick help to thousands of Quebecers living with anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder,” said Jean-Rémy Provost, Executive Director of Revivre. “This kind of immediate help in response to the COVID-19 crisis is extremely welcome as we work to support our clients as quickly as possible, including in online group workshops.”

Strongest Families Institute
“Strongest Families Institute is grateful to Bell Let’s Talk for its generous gift. Our distance services remain available to help children, youth, adults and families who are struggling with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and behavioural challenges. This funding will increase our telephone support work force, including help for those in rural or under-resourced communities and fund enhancements to process increased demands for service,” said Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, President and CEO, Strongest Families Institute. “With this donation we can help more Canadians, promote good mental health and equip people with valuable skills to improve quality of life during these challenging times.”

About Bell Let’s Talk
The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars – Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations providing mental health services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations.

To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About Bell
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services throughout the country. Bell Media is Canada’s premier content creation company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.

Media inquiries
Jacqueline Michelis
Bell
613-785-1427
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca
@Bell_LetsTalk
@Bell_News

Katherine Janson
Canadian Mental Health Association, National
647-717-8674
kjanson@cmha.ca

Canadian Red Cross
877-599-9602

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

Jean-Rémy Provost
Revivre
514-973-3040
jean-remy.provost@revivre.org

Theresa Cunningham
Strongest Families Institute
902-237-7700
tcunningham@strongestfamilies.com