Sun Life donates $1 million to Kids Help Phone to support Indigenous youth mental health

Press Release

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2021  To combat the growing mental health crisis and challenges young people face, Sun Life is donating $1 million to Kids Help Phone. This milestone investment will bring life-saving mental health support to Indigenous youth across Canada. Together, Sun Life and Kids Help Phone will expand Brighter Days, an Indigenous Wellness Program, across the country. Over the next three years, Sun Life’s support of the Brighter Days Program will help reach 4,500 youth through the delivery of 300 mental health sessions. The sessions aim to empower youth with skills, tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being.

“At Sun Life, we believe mental health is health. Our goal is to ensure every person has access to the resources and support they need to live their healthiest life,” said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada. “Funding mental health programs designed with Indigenous youth, for Indigenous youth, is an important step to ensure everyone who lives in Canada has access to the support they need. We are committed to building a more resilient country.”

Access to mental health support can be the difference between life and death. For Indigenous youth, the need is critical, and services are limited and underfunded. Brighter Days: An Indigenous Wellness Program by Kids Help Phone, teaches youth how to manage mental health and wellness. It aims to destigmatize conversations around mental health and encourage youth to ask for help.

“As we reflect on the past, present and future experiences, challenges and opportunities of Indigenous youth in this country, Sun Life’s immense support will drive transformational change for how we are able to create impact with purpose,” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. “We are incredibly grateful for Sun Life’s donation, which continues to support our commitment to reaching more Indigenous youth by investing in the accessibility of our Brighter Days Program across Canada.”

Brighter Days Program supported by Sun Life
Kids Help Phone launched Brighter Days: An Indigenous Wellness Program in early 2021. It equips youth with skills, tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being. It begins with a session to increase awareness of Kids Help Phone services. Then through a series of modules participants learn about wellness and self-care, healthy domestic relationships, and managing stress and anxiety. With Sun Life’s support, the program will:

  • Expand nationally to deliver 300 sessions to 4,500 youth, ages 6-29. Sessions will be offered in schools, group homes, youth and community centres.
  • Recruit and train 60 community-based youth and adult volunteers into the Weaving Threads: An Indigenous Engagement Program across Canada. These trusted leaders will promote the Brighter Days Program and support the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the community.
  • Increase awareness and access to Kids Help Phone’s life-saving mental health supports, including phone counselling, texting support, and local mental health resources.

Investing in mental health programming for Indigenous youth supports Sun Life’s Purpose of helping people in Canada live healthier lives and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitments. This partnership is aligned to Sun Life’s increased focus on physical and mental health with the creation of Sun Life Health. To learn more about how Sun Life is making a difference in the community, read their 2020 Sustainability Report.

Sun Life in the community
Sun Life is committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life. Community wellness is an important part of its sustainability commitment. By actively supporting the communities in which Sun Life lives and works, the organization can help build a positive environment for Clients, employees, advisors and shareholders. Its philanthropic support focuses on health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, and care initiatives. Mental health is also a key priority, with support for programs and organizations with an emphasis on building resilience and coping skills.

Sun Life also partners with sports properties in key markets to further its commitment to healthy and active living. Its employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering close to 12,000 hours each year and contribute to making life brighter for individuals and families across Canada.

Learn more about Sun Life in the community.

Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support in English, French and Arabic 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.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contacts:

Meredith Mundick
Manager, Corporate Communications, Sun Life
T: 416-979-4048
meredith.mundick@sunlife.com

Omid Razavi
Director, Strategic Communications, Kids Help Phone
M: 647-617-9575
omid.razavi@kidshelpphone.ca

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