Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations Makes Significant Impact In First Two Years Of Child And Youth Mental Health Initiative

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Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations launches its third annual national fundraising campaign in partnership with Sobeys Inc. and the Sobey Foundation as part of the Family of Support: Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative. (CNW Group/Canada's Children's Hospital Foundations)

Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF), in partnership with Sobeys Inc. and the Sobey Foundation, is proud to announce the launch of its annual campaign as part of the Family of Support: Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative (“Family of Support”), which has surpassed initial targets three years early.

In only two years, the Family of Support initiative has created capacity for mental health early intervention support for children and youth through the expansion of treatment spaces, assessments and enhanced training programs at 13 local children’s hospitals across Canada. Since its inception in 2020, the campaign has seen 36 new treatment spaces created, over 7,000 health-care providers trained, and over 20,000 mental health assessments completed.

Across Canada, more than 1.2 million children and youth experience mental health challenges, and that number grows significantly into adolescence and adulthood1. Seventy per cent of mental health problems have their onset during childhood and adolescence. If left untreated, mental health challenges can seriously affect a child’s life.2 Experts agree that proactive, early intervention for a child experiencing mental health struggles can transform how they experience mental health later in life, preventing kids and families from experiencing poor outcomes.

“With more than one million children in need of early mental health supports each year, the importance of early intervention programs cannot be understated,” said Mark Hierlihy, President & Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations. “Two years of Family of Support gives us insights into what these programs can truly achieve. When we change the health of children, we change the health of Canada,” Hierlihy added.

Family of Support’s key recent achievements include expanding access to neuropsychological assessments at SickKids in Toronto, a new mental health walk-in clinic at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Alberta and a new urgent tele-mental health service to help children and adolescents in rural Manitoba.

“Getting kids the mental health help they need early has never been more important,” said Sandra Sanderson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Sobeys Inc. “Through the Family of Support initiative, we are bringing together our store teams, our customers and 13 children’s hospital foundations to help kids in hundreds of local communities. The impact we’ve made to date is just the beginning.”

With the Family of Support campaign kicking off this summer, from July 26 to August 10, Canadians can donate at Empire and Sobeys Inc. retail locations. Plus, Canadians can double their impact by visiting their local store on August 6 or 7, when Sobeys Inc. will match customer donations up to $200,000.3 One hundred per cent of funds raised locally will stay local, supporting child and youth mental health programs at their respective children’s hospitals. Canadians can donate at the check-stand of any local Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Farm Boy, Foodland, FreshCo, Lawton’s Drugs, Thrifty Foods, Co-op, Need’s Convenience, Pete’s Frootique & Fine Foods, and Sobeys Express.

Through the campaign, CCHF, Sobeys Inc. and the Sobey Foundation’s commitment to increasing early interventions of child and youth mental health initiatives has resulted in more than $9 million raised to date for 13 local children’s hospital foundations across Canada.

For more information, including a summary of the 13 children’s hospital foundations and real-life stories from children and youth whose lives have been impacted by Family of Support, visit familyofsupport.com.

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