Demi Lovato, Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite, and Draper Richards Kaplan Launch Coronavirus Mental Health Fund

NEW YORK, April 20, 2020 /CNW/ — Today, Demi Lovato, Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite, Canadian Family Foundations and Draper Richards Kaplan announce the launch of The Mental Health Fund, which already raised $2M, to help individuals in pain from the mental health and behavioral impact of the coronavirus. This fund aims to support the work of organizations that provide crisis intervention via text message, 24/7.

Crisis Text Line serves as founder of The Mental Health Fund, along with Demi Lovato, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Virgin Unite, Canadian Family Foundations, Draper Richards Kaplan, and others who have provided $2M funds to launch the initiative. The Mental Health Fund, which is live on GoFundMe, has a goal of reaching $5M.

Crisis intervention via text is filling a gap in the mental health care system, especially for people who find it difficult to talk or do not have the resources to access other care.

“So many people have been left alone with their thoughts, their abusers, their anxieties — and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times,” said Demi Lovato. “I know not everyone has the ability to get the help they need so my hope is that this fund can bring support to help alleviate some of the hardship and pain people are going through.”

To meet the increased demand of people in pain, Crisis Text Line, Shout UK, Kids Help Phone,, and SpunOut.ie, have come together to work with The Mental Health Fund.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, these organizations experienced a collective 40% increase in texter volume in March and April.

The data from these crisis lines’ conversations demonstrates the mental health impact of this pandemic and the quarantines:

Anxiety is the top issue right now. 78% of conversations indicate anxiety. Financial stress is a large portion of this anxiety.

Impoverished people are in acute pain. Currently 32% of texters in the USA report their household income is under $20,000 annually.

Quarantines are causing hardship as people may be sheltering in place with abusers. In March these hotlines saw a collective increase in conversations about emotional and physical abuse.
“The virus itself is awful and causing anxiety and grief and then the quarantines and financial ruin is causing different intense pain,” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and Co-Founder of Crisis Text Line. “We’re here for all of it. Bring it on. We got you.”

“Physical distancing is tough on everyone, but it’s particularly challenging for those who are anxious about reaching out for help,” said Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC. “By supporting The Mental Health Fund, RBC is helping make sure resources are available for those struggling with the day-to-day challenges of a more isolated world. We encourage everyone to seek the support they need, when they need it.”

“We are so honoured to support the critical work of the incredible people behind The Mental Health Fund. There has never been a more important time for their work. Mental health support will be needed for years to come, and we all should get behind their mission to ensure everyone can receive quality support 24/7.” Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Unite.

“During these unprecedented times filled with worry and fear there is support 24/7 to help with any issue big or small,” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “We understand days are filled with isolation and uncertainty. Together we will get through this crisis and Kids Help Phone is there every step of the way. We are grateful for The Mental Health Fund during this extraordinary time.”

These organizations recruit, train, and support volunteers who comfort texters struggling to cope with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges. Since 2013, Crisis Text Line and its affiliate partners Kids Help Phone, Shout, and SpunOut.ie have trained over 30,000 volunteers and exchanged over 150 million messages by text with people in pain.

Your support is greatly appreciated! To learn more about The Mental Health Fund, visit GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/thementalhealthfund. If you’re interested in promoting on social media, please find social language and assets HERE.

About Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support for people in crisis via text. Crisis Counselors complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time Crisis Text Line mental health professionals. In the US, Text CRISIS to 741741 24/7 a week to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line launched in 2013 in the United States and in 2020 in Ireland. Shout and Kids Help Phone are affiliate partners of Crisis Text Line, offering the service in the UK and Canada.

About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national service offering professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led text-based support for young people. Kids Help Phone’s free, confidential services are available in both English and French. Kids Help Phone is a registered Canadian charity, and raises the majority of revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations and community fundraising.

About Shout
Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. We offer in the moment help for times when life gets overwhelming and you need immediate support. Shout is powered by a team of Crisis Volunteers, who are at the heart of this service. We take people from crisis to calm every single day. Shout exists in the US as Crisis Text Line, but this is the first time this tried and tested technology has come to the UK.

About SpunOut.ie
SpunOut.ie is Ireland’s leading youth website by young people, for young people with over 1.6 million readers in 2019. SpunOut.ie and Crisis Text Line (Ireland) are projects of Community Creations CLG, a registered charity in Ireland funded in part by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.

Samsung explores the love spectrum

When Samsung Canada launched its Look at Me project three years ago, the objective was to learn about the autism community and spread the word about its tablet app designed to help children on the autism spectrum. But over the last two years, the company’s focus has shifted to raising awareness of the role technology plays in the lives of families living with autism.

This year’s campaign, “Learn the Love Spectrum,” celebrates the unique ways children on the spectrum have of showing their love. A video spot by Cheil Canada suggests that their expressions of love aren’t limited to “hugs and kisses, there’s a whole spectrum.” For Niam, it’s through artistic expression; for Kai, through dancing and playing; for Riley, through baking. Each child has his or her own way, and technology is there to help them express themselves and communicate it with loved ones.

“The evolution of the campaign has gone from a very clear focus on the launch of the app . . . to really focusing on what we’ve experienced with the families living with autism,” says Mark Childs, chief brand officer at Samsung Canada. “The work that we’ve launched this year is a culmination of that learning and that experience that fully embraces technology as a supportive tool for these children.”

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Manulife Volunteer Initiatives

manulife_investing_timeIn 2009, Manulife Financial looked to define a cause marketing strategy that would not only align well with their brand values (strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking) but would also have high potential to engage employees, advisors and Canadians across the country.

Inspired by the longstanding community work of their employees and financial advisors, Manulife chose volunteerism as their Signature Cause based on its potential to meet those two objectives. The opportunity was defined under three pillars: to inspire a new generation of volunteers; to support Canada’s volunteering community and help it grow; and to engage volunteers in great volunteer opportunities that match their interests, skills and schedules.

Today, a pillar of Manulife’s social responsibility efforts in Canada is their commitment to volunteering. With a pledge to inspire, support and engage every individual and every organization that is investing time and resources in their communities, Manulife supports a variety of volunteer-focused initiatives including:

My Giving Moment, a social marketing campaign supported by business and community leaders that celebrates and generates the kind of giving that is in the Canadian DNA.

GetVolunteering, a website that shows visitors how to get the most out of life through community involvement. A ‘Get Matched’ page provides a chance to give back wherever you live in Canada.

Bridging the Gap, a landmark research report developed in partnership with Volunteer Canada, The Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development and Harris Decima. The research explored today’s volunteers and potential volunteers to learn who they are, what they’re looking for and what they can offer, so that everyone’s efforts can be more effective.

Internally, 2287 Manulife employees dedicated 26,602 volunteer hours in 2013.

Koodonation

Koodonation is Canada’s first-ever micro-volunteering website. A corporate social responsibility initiative of Koodo Mobile, it was designed to inspire and engage Koodo’s millennial customers in volunteering.

Microvolunteering is done online, in short bursts with only a short time commitment, a simple way for Koodo’s tech-savvy young customers to support local charities, non profits and organizations that need help.

More than 9,000 young Canadians have volunteered time to help more than 380 non-profits and charities on the Koodonation website.

The strategy behind Koodonation was based on extensive research that revealed Canada’s generation of young people aged 13-18 are very generous, donating an average $293 of their own money to charitable causes every year. Those aged 19-29 donate an average $400 per year. Millennials devote significant time to volunteering and want to do more, although they often don’t have time due to their busy schedules.

koodonationKoodonation was launched with a massive Wipeout-style event in Toronto’s downtown Yonge-Dundas Square, where teams from four post-secondary schools battled it out in fun, visually exciting challenges such as sumo wrestling and tricycle races. The winning team, Durham College, won a $30,000 donation to its favourite charity.

The launch was hosted by MTV’s Sheena Snively and attended by celebrities Jeremy Taggert of Our Lady Peace, Daniel Johnson of the Stereos, and Mike Bradwell, a star football player for the Toronto Argonauts. The launch of Koodonation earned more than 30 million positive media impressions.

In year two in 2013, the “Koodonation Online Throwdown” was created: a virtual competition that challenged post-secondary students at schools across Canada to do the most good online via Koodonation in a two-week timeframe. The campaign won a Cause + Action award in 2013. The write-up can be seen here.

Koodonation was created by Strategic Objectives and this write-up can be found on their website.

BC Hydro Power Smart

BC Hydro has influenced many of its consumers to reduce their energy consumption through its Power Smart loyalty program.