On Sunday, May 6, thousands of Canadians will come together to change the headlines

This weekend, more than 40 communities will take part in Canada's largest walk to support child and youth mental health and well-being

TORONTO, May 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Kicking off Mental Health Week, May 6th's Walk so Kids Can Talk is an important way for communities to send young people across Canada the message that their well-being matters. The Walk invites moms, dads, coaches, teachers, neighbours to pledge their support to Kids Help Phone, Canada's leading phone and online youth counseling service, and its vital role in reducing the mental distress kids and teens may be facing when feeling hopeless.

Every day, Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors hear from kids who are experiencing the cruelty of bullying, the loneliness of depression, the paralyzing fear of anxiety, or are feeling the pressures to succeed, compete, or conform. How they are supported is what counts.

"The Walk's fundraising campaign goal of $2.5 million, and your support at this time, is critical," says Sharon Wood, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. "Today's reality is that the demand for our phone and online service is greater than our ability to meet it. For too many kids, teens and young adults, every minute counts. That's why we need you to help us be there for kids."

As a frequent first point - and sometimes only point - of contact with professional counselling services for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn to, Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading youth counselling service. It is available 24/7/365 to the *6.5 million kids in Canada, offering free, age appropriate and immediate professional phone and online counselling service, information and resources, in English and in French, no matter the question or the concern.

The Walk so Kids Can Talk takes place in more than 40 communities across Canada. It's a fun, non-competitive 5 km route that draws thousands of participants who are stepping forward as one community for one cause, kids. Walkers show a remarkable commitment to every young person in every community, promising that whatever challenge they are facing, someone will be there for them.

"On Sunday, May 6, I hope we can all come together to show kids in Canada that we are all there for them," Wood says.

Walk so Kids Can Talk is held Sunday, May 6, 2012, in locations across Canada including:

Alberta
Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Red Deer

British Columbia
Fraser Valley, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Victoria

Manitoba
Winnipeg

New Brunswick
Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John

Newfoundland & Labrador
Clarenville, St. George's, St. John's, Stephenville

Nova Scotia
Halifax, New Glasgow, Sheet Harbour, Sydney, Truro

Ontario:
Barrie, Chatham, Durham (Ajax), Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Mississauga, Niagara, Orillia, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Peterborough, Quinte, Sarnia, Sudbury, Toronto, York Region

Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown

Quebec
Montreal, Victoriaville

To walk, pledge or volunteer, please log on to www.walksokidscantalk.ca

* Source: Statistics Canada, population estimates for young people ages 5-20, July 1st 2011 - 30 -

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading online and phone counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and confidential, and it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year in English and in French.  Professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people, ages five to 20, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources.  As a community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to fund its essential and vital service.

SOURCE: Kids Help Phone

For further information:

To set up an interview about the Walk so Kids Can Talk, please contact:

416-581-8955


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