3 children sitting at a table laughing and smiling for the camera. The table in front of them has craft supplies like yarn and beads.

Mental health

Joining forces with BGC Canada to relaunch youth mental wellness program

Oct 14, 2021

For over 120 years, BGC Canada (formerly Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada) has fostered the well-being of youth by removing barriers and creating opportunities. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the role that local BGC Clubs have played in the lives of young people have become more important than ever before.

that 70% of youth ages 6 – 18 have experienced a downturn in their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. As young people continue to navigate the repercussions of a changed world, providing them with mental health education has been crucial to BGC Clubs across the country. 

BGC Canada - Engaging youth to improve mental wellness - image 2

BGC Canada’s Flex Your Head is a universal mental health program developed to help youth 13+ think about, talk about, and understand issues of mental health and wellness in a safe and welcoming environment. Through this program, youth are given knowledge, skills and strategies to cope with stress and promote positive mental wellness.

In 2021, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation provided BGC Canada with a $100,0000 national grant to adapt Flex Your Head to the current realities youth face, including: 

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion best practices to support BIPOC and 2S & LGBTQIA+ youth

  • Updated trauma-informed approaches and content that respond to current pandemic stressors (effect of isolation, family conflict, etc.)

  • Optimizing the program for virtual environments while retaining an active peer-based format

Fully refreshed with learning guides, modules, virtual class activities, and current research, the 12-week program will be available for local BGC Clubs to run in-person or virtually.

Flex Your Head played an important role in helping me balance mental health and productivity. And while the program was impactful, as someone who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community, it’s great to see the work being done to include the specific barriers faced by LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC youth. The more we can learn, listen and empathize with others, the better.

- Savannah Lapensee, Regional Youth of the Year and BGC Cornwall/SDG alumni

At TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, we are committed to connecting youth to a world of opportunities. In 2020, we were proud to provide funding to BGC Canada at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as they adapted and built online programs to help support a multitude of developmental skills. With the growing concerns about the long-term impact of the pandemic, the relaunch of Flex Your Head will help develop mental health resilience for youth across the country in safe, engaging and inclusive environments.  

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