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Mental health

Increasing youth mental health literacy more important than ever

Sep 20, 2021

Mental health training delivered in person can be costly and often inaccessible in rural and remote communities. The quality of the training can also vary depending on the facilitator. At a time when concerns surrounding youth mental health are at an all-time high due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack.org is responding with a new digital training course designed to increase youth mental health literacy called the Be There Certificate program. 

Jack.org trains and empowers a national network of young leaders to revolutionize mental health literacy across the country. Be There is their award-winning digital resource that uses engaging text and video content to help users learn to recognize when a peer is struggling, engage safely in tough conversations, and maintain their own mental health while supporting others. Jack.org launched the Be There platform in May 2019, and since then over 725,000 unique visitors have used the site.

The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation has partnered with Jack.org by providing a $66,666 national grant to help create the Be There Certificate program. This newly created program is designed to provide young people with an accessible alternative to in-person mental health education. It promises to deliver an immersive and flexible learning experience that accommodates a variety of learning styles. 

This funding will help enable 110,000 youth from across Canada to increase their mental health literacy and gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to safely support peers who may be struggling with their own mental health. The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is committed to supporting youth mental health charities like Jack.org find new ways to address the growing challenges young Canadians face each and every day. 

What is most incredible about the Be There resource is that it distils evidence-informed strategies to foster compassion and reduce stigma into an easily understood, and universally accessible framework. The platform was co-created by youth, for youth, with advice from experts in the field. Approaches like Be There democratize access to knowledge, and deliver education directly to youth.

Dr. Javeed Sukhera, former President of the Ontario Psychiatric Association