"When you have a chemical imbalance, or, in other words, you're psycho"*

             New Kids Help Phone study on Mental Health indicates
     mental health literacy is high among youth, but stigma still rules

TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - The Kids Help Phone Critical Issue Report on Mental Health Literacy among youth in Canada indicates that providing mental health education and facts isn't sufficient to break through fear and stigma; while 75% of youth show good general knowledge of mental health issues, only 50% would consider reaching out if they were struggling with intense feelings.

        I'm depressed. and I decided I had to reach out for help and tell my
        mom but she freaked out, she started yelling that I was a psycho and
        I needed to go to a mental hospital and she would get child services
        to take me. I panicked and told her I was just exaggerating. She went
        with it and we never talked about it again. But nothing has changed.
        I'm still depressed. I'm scared to tell my therapist because I can't
        let my mom find out. The time I told my mom I truly felt like my
        whole world was crashing down around me... What should I do?(xx)

The Kids Help Phone study, available April 13, shows that the fear of rejection from friends and family, and the worries over confidentiality are affecting children's willingness to seek help. The critical importance of an anonymous and confidential service is further evidenced by the young people of the survey who clearly state that Kids Help Phone is among the Top 3 options if they were to reach out.

"While it's encouraging to see that these young people are knowledgeable about mental health issues, it's also clear that having "the facts" is not always enough to break through stigma. Young people's fears regarding the possible consequences of admitting to mental health struggles can be quite profound, leading to lost opportunities for appropriate treatment," states Lila Knighton, Counselling Services' Director of Knowledge Management, Kids Help Phone.

Ms Knighton continues, "One out of every four kids who reached out to Kids Help Phone in 2009 had concerns related to mental health. It is of critical importance that our service remains open to them. Because we are professional, accessible, always open, and especially because of our promise of anonymity and confidentiality, Kids Help Phone is one of the few services that many youth trust. With endless demand for our services, and as a charity, we need to raise funds so that every young person who takes the courageous step of reaching out to us finds the help they deserve."

To contribute to the national dialogue on mental health, starting Tuesday April 13, Kids Help Phone will ask Canadians to answer and comment on some of the survey's questions via the organization's Facebook page. Survey insights will be shared by Lila Knighton, at the end of each week.

For more than 20 years, Kids Help Phone has been a front-runner in understanding the issues that are important to young people. On Sunday, May 2nd, the Walk for Kids Help Phone will help raise the much needed funds to meet the ongoing demand for the charity's phone and web counselling services. To walk, pledge, raise funds or volunteer, visit kidshelpphone.ca.

    * quote from a respondent to the 2010 Kids Help Phone survey on Mental
    (xx)post from Kids Help Phone Ask Us Online counseling service, edited to
        protect the anonymity of the client

To download the Executive Summary: http://bit.ly/CIRSpring10

(Full report available April 13, 2010)

To join the Facebook discussion: http://bit.ly/khpfan

SOURCE Kids Help Phone

For further information: For further information: Virginia Middleton, Kids Help Phone, Communications Officer, (416) 586-5437 x 8345, Mobile: (647) 231-5304, virginia.middleton@kidshelpphone.ca

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