Children's Aid Foundation launches new mental health program with a grant from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program to be piloted for children in care

TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2017 /CNW/ - Addressing the mental health needs of children and youth in care of the child welfare system and focusing on early intervention is at the core of a new pilot program launched by the Children's Aid Foundation with a grant from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund.  The Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program will formally be offered to children in care, who until now have been unable to access this type of psychotherapy on a reliable and time sensitive basis.  Children in care are almost four times as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder compared to children in the general population.

"Children and youth in care are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues due to the trauma they've experienced as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment and the separation from their families," says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children's Aid Foundation. "Research has shown that timely access to trauma-informed interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, are amongst the most effective early mental health interventions. Surprisingly, children in care don't have priority access to this type of therapy. With the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to support the pilot program, children will get help they need so that they can overcome their traumatic past and go on to lead happy lives."

The Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program will be offered through the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Fifty children will have access to this evidence-based treatment and will work closely with a local, community-based mental health practitioner for 8 to 12 weeks of therapy to learn new ways of thinking and behaving in order to help them better cope with anxiety, depression and trauma. 

"Mental health support for children and youth in care is such a critical need and Bell Let's Talk is very pleased to support the Children's Aid Foundation in delivering Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the evidence based treatment it offers," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "More than 70 projects like this one by the Children's Aid Foundation have received grants from the 2016 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund to help provide frontline mental health services to Canadians living with mental illness all around the country."

Results from the pilot will inform and influence how more children and youth in care can be helped in the future. Additional support for the therapy program has been provided by the Canada Post Foundation and WB Family Foundation.

The health and well-being of children and youth in care is a key priority for the Children's Aid Foundation's $60 million National Campaign for Child Welfare and the Trauma-Focused Cognitive

Behavioural Therapy Program is one of several mental health programs for children in care offered through grants from the Foundation.

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 25
On January 25, for every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada customers, every tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, and every use of the Bell Let's Talk Snapchat  geofilter, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.

Bell's donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let's Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges if any, apply.

The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let's Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About the Children's Aid Foundation

The Children's Aid Foundation is Canada's leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system. With the support of generous corporate, foundation and individual donors, we have been helping children reach their potential against all odds since 1979. Join us and help some of the most vulnerable kids in Canada overcome traumas of the past and rebuild stability, self-worth and a sense of life's possibilities. Learn more at www.cafdn.org

SOURCE Children's Aid Foundation

For further information: Media contact: Lisa Lipkin, Lisa Lipkin Communications, Tel: 416-988-4189; E-mail: lisa.lipkin@llpr.ca

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http://www.cafdn.org

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