Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national mental health service for young people, driven
by technology and innovation, and offering bilingual professional counselling, clinically-based
tools, resource referrals and crisis support services.
In 2021, Kids Help Phone served young people in Canada 4.6 million times – sustained from
2020 and a 137% increase over 2019. On average, we made 12,330 connections with young
people every single day, exceeding 9 million connections since March 2020. Call volumes are
up by 38 per cent year-over-year, and our community of volunteer crisis responders and
professional counsellors continues to grow to meet ever-increasing demand. We conduct 11
active rescues for young people in imminent danger of self-harm every single day.
But our work is not done. In Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young
people; a rate that is the third highest in the industrialized world. The state of youth mental
health is in crisis – children and youth are facing challenges to their mental health and wellbeing at a level of complexity never seen before. With 8.2 million young people in Canada, more
must be done.
Canada’s mental health sector is fragmented. Technology is outdated and services are siloed,
requiring young people to force-fit their needs in a complex and uncoordinated system.
Kids Help Phone has the track-record, vision, strategy and trust to radically transform the
landscape of youth mental health in Canada – a journey already begun. We envision a youthcentred e-mental health ecosystem that is driven by collaboration, informed by real-time data,
co-designed with youth, and rooted in both clinical expertise and an innovative continuum of
services that meets young people where they are.
Currently in the quiet phase of Canada’s largest campaign for youth mental health, our goal is to
raise $250M by 2024. The campaign will support three impact pillars at Kids Help Phone:
Clinical Services, Innovation, Data & Research and Equity & Access Amplification.
Kids Help Phone’s Clinical Services ($140M)
Kids Help Phone’s service model is robust and holistic. Our services are all free, confidential
and available 24/7, in both French and English. Whether by phone, text, mobile app, Facebook
Messenger or through our website, young people can connect with us whenever, wherever and
however they prefer. We aim to scale the delivery of our 24/7 bilingual e-mental health services
over 30 million times by 2024.
Innovation, Data & Research ($75M)
Kids Help Phone’s evolution began when we launched technology solutions beyond one-to-one
professional phone counselling.
From launching a volunteer-led crisis texting service to building a AI-driven Navigation
Technology Program to improving user experience when navigating our services to launching a
first-of-its-kind Peer-to-Peer Community, Kids Help Phone constantly innovates to meet the
changing needs of young people.
We are now at an inflection point. Wait times continue to grow, and young people have complex
needs that require more varied supports that will persist well beyond the current pandemic. As
we accelerate our innovation agenda, we are outgrowing our current technology and data
infrastructure, limiting our ability to scale our services. The Innovation Centre for E-Mental
Health Solutions at Kids Help Phone will be the engine that fuels the innovation cycle and the
evolution of our service delivery.
To establish The Innovation Centre, we are broadening our service model, transforming the way we use our data and embracing new technologies that meet young people where they are in their digital world. We are building an omni-channel stepped-care ecosystem, codesigned with young people, scalable enough to provide high quality emental health services.
With the largest dataset on youth mental health, we are aggregating data across services for real-time insights, fueling clinical service and innovation. Our Data Hub will help us to continually evaluate and improve service delivery to ensure best-in-class user experience, while also informing proactive programming and influencing policy – regionally and nationally.
Informed by our dataset and integrated service model, and fueled through cross-sector collaboration, our systems change approach will deliver better health outcomes, reach more children and youth, and transform the landscape of youth mental health, in Canada.
Equity and Access Amplification ($35M)
For the young people of Canada, it’s never been clearer that change is urgently needed. Access to support can be the difference between life and death. For young people who are Black or Indigenous, who live in rural communities or who identify as LGBTQ2S+, mental health challenges are more frequent, more severe. More life-threatening.
Through equity programs and landscape shifting strategies, Kids Help Phone is deeply committed to co-creating transformative strategies to reach and maximize access to services for underserved and equity—seeking youth. We are taking decisive action to seek advice, guidance and strategic leadership from the communities we serve.
We are currently offering innovative, relevant and essential service offerings for Black, Indigenous and Newcomer youth – offering services in Arabic and Mandarin. Under this strategic objective, we will continue to reduce and remove, when possible, barriers to access support for all young people across the country. We remain committed to ensuring that all young people in Canada to have equitable access to compassionate mental health support to ensure no young person is left behind.
Because when the young people of Canada need us, we’re there. Always.
Kids Help Phone will continue to collaborate with forward-thinking philanthropists and corporate partners, to fuel, build and drive new service innovation—just like our founders over 30 years ago. An unprecedented, bold new comprehensive campaign is on the horizon. New access points, new resources and new solutions are being designed and tested every day. We are seeking partners to join our incredible community of donors, volunteers and advocates, who continue to show up for youth with courage, conviction and determination. Change – the kind that promises a better, bolder future for our youth – is underway.
“Hi. I feel like you saved my life tonight. Thank you. You’re doing an amazing thing and I know you don’t know me but you really helped me feel stronger and better about myself. You’re kind of a hero. I felt like I could breathe again after talking to you. Thanks again and I hope you stay safe.”
— Texting service user