CANADIANS URGE YOUNG PEOPLE TO SHARE THEIR FEELINGS WITH KIDS HELP PHONE

More than 4,300 kids who struggle with their well-being reach out for help and
hope every week. On Sunday May 1st, Canada walked so kids could talk.

TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - On Sunday May 1st, community leaders, neighbours, coaches, teachers, kids, moms, and dads helped kick off National Mental Health Week by joining an inspiring Canadian movement to "break the silence on mental health." More than 40 communities across the country took to the streets for the 10th annual Walk for Kids Help Phone to send out an important message of courage and hope to young people across Canada. That message is that talking about a problem isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. On Sunday May 1st, Canada walked so kids could talk.

"The spirit of caring among Canadians is remarkable," says Duane, a professional counsellor at Kids Help Phone. "It gives young people a promise of help and hope whenever they feel life is letting them down. Providing kids with free, confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental counselling is vital. Everyone struggles sometimes, and we want kids and teens to know it's okay to ask for help. What an empowering message to be sharing with Canada's six million young people."

Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors assist kids more than 4,300 times a week either through phone or web consultation. While every young person who contacts Kids Help Phone is dealing with issues that affect their well-being, in 2010, 30% of contacts were from young people facing significant mental and emotional health struggles. That's a notable increase from the 19% recorded in 2004 (first available Kids Help Phone issue-related statistics).

Connecting with the youth counselling service from more than 2,500 Canadian communities, kids, teens and young adults reach out with questions and concerns ranging from trouble with homework to dealing with depression and anxiety, from sexual identity questions to thoughts of suicide. That's why the Walk is so important; the charity's biggest fundraising event of the year provides critical funds that ensure Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors continue to be there for young people everywhere, ensuring that no cry for help goes unanswered today, tonight, or tomorrow.

On Sunday May 1st, thousands of co-workers, friends and family stepped forward as one community for one cause - kids - and raised $2 million. Pledges and contributions are still being tallied. Because every minute of every day is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids in Canada, the Walk for Kids Help Phone accepts donations year-round; see how the contributions are making a difference with this message from Kids Help Phone counsellor Duane: www.walkforkidshelpphone.ca

Kids Help Phone is Canada's only phone and on-line counselling service for youth. It's free, anonymous and confidential.  Professional counsellors are available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year, to help young people deal with concerns large or small.  As a national community-based charity, Kids Help Phone relies on individual and corporate donations to fund these vital services.

CNW Group is proud to be the official newswire provider for Kids Help Phone.

SOURCE: Kids Help Phone

For further information:

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