Kids Help Phone offers counsellor program to students in Thompson and elsewhere with help from Vale

A partnership between Kids Help Phone and Vale Canada is helping students in Thompson and other Manitoba communities develop some mental health strategies to cope with one of their top three sources of anxiety – attending school in the midst of a pandemic.

Supported by a $180,000 donation over the past three years from Vale, Kids Help Phone is providing its Counsellor in the Classroom program to Grade 6 to Grade 8 students at 10 schools in Thompson, Flin Flon, Winnipeg, Stonewall and Lorette this school year. The program was also offered in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador last school year, though some sessions booked for after march were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are scheduled wot take place this school year, with a target completion date of this fall.

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“As an unsettling school year begins, the transition our young people are facing is new and unfamiliar territory for all of us – not just students, but for parents and educators,” said Jenny Yuen, Kids Help Phone’s vice president of national partnerships and chief community officer. “With thanks to Vale Incorporated Canada’s generous gift, Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors can continue to demystify help seeking behaviour by educating youth and their peers in the classroom.”

Heading back to school during the second wave of COVID-19 is the third most common reason that young people reach out to Kids Help Phone by text – behind loneliness and general mental health. 

the Counsellor in the Classroom program gives students the chance to take part in mental health and well-being lessons with their teacher before having a 45-minute conversation as a class with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor.

“Vale is proud to support Kids Help Phone’s Counsellor in the Classroom program,” said Brittney Price, Manager of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability for Vale’s North Atlantic Operations. “It is well aligned with our focus on supporting and maintaining mental health of our employees, their families and the communities where we operate.”

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 mental health service offering free confidential support in English and French by test at 686868, phone at 1-800-6686868 or online at kidshelphone.ca.

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