Atlantic Provinces and Bell Let’s Talk partner on $2 million funding program for child and youth mental health

Governments of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island match $1 million Bell Let’s Talk donation to Strongest Families Institute

HALIFAX, January, 20, 2017 – Bell Let’s Talk and all 4 Atlantic provinces today announced unprecedented support for child and youth mental health across the region with a combined gift of $2 million to the Strongest Families Institute.

A $1 million donation by Bell Let’s Talk will be matched by provincial government funding in each Atlantic province over a 4-year period. With $2 million in new funding, the Strongest Families Institute will expand its existing services in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and launch its services in New Brunswick. This initiative will reach approximately 2,000 children, youth and families across the region.

“Strongest Families has a proven track record of providing evidence-based mental health services for children and youth, and Bell Let’s Talk is pleased to partner with the provinces to expand their reach to more families across the Atlantic region,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We commend our government partners for their leadership and commitment to mental health. Working together, we can provide significant support for more young people and their families throughout Atlantic Canada.”

The Strongest Families Institute provides programs for children, youth and families dealing with mild to moderate mental illness and other health issues through a unique distance coaching approach, supporting families over the phone and Internet in the privacy of their own homes.

“Strongest Families has been designed to remove barriers to care,” said Dr. Patricia Lingley- Pottie, President & CEO, Strongest Families Institute, and Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University and Scientist, IWK Health Centre. “There is no need to travel or take time from work or school, and appointments are scheduled at convenient times. Our outcomes are strong, families report high satisfaction and the drop-out rate is less than 10 per cent. We help people when and where they need it, and we thank Bell Let’s Talk and the provincial governments for supporting us.”

For the first time, Strongest Families Institute will launch programs in New Brunswick, supporting children and youth in both English and French, thanks to a combined donation of $700,000 from the Government of New Brunswick and Bell Let’s Talk.

“The Government of New Brunswick is proud to be joining forces with our Atlantic partners so that children and youth with complex needs can benefit from programs aimed at families dealing with mental health issues,” said Victor Boudreau, New Brunswick Minister of Health. “The Strongest Families Institute will provide timely access to quality e-health services for New Brunswick children and families, an initiative that will complement our province’s already successful Integrated Service Delivery model for children and youth.”

Strongest Families has been helping young people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador since 2015. Together, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Bell Let’s Talk are providing $450,000 that will allow the organization to better meet expanding service demands across the province.

“Family-centered care is vital to helping young people thrive and cope with mental health problems,” said John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services. “Strong communities begin with strong families, and our government is pleased to expand our contribution, along with our Atlantic Canadian partners, to this important initiative in support of youth mental health. I would also like to thank Bell Let’s Talk for its commitment to mental health and the Strongest Families Institute.”

The Strongest Families services were initially developed and tested at the IWK Health Centre. In addition to existing provincial funding, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Health Centre are joining with Bell Let’s Talk to build on this support with a combined contribution of $700,000.

“Strongest Families delivers vital and flexible programming to Nova Scotian families, ensuring children and youth get mental health services where and when they need them. Our province is a proud supporter of their work,” said Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness. “Thank you to Bell Let’s Talk for your ongoing work to raise awareness for mental health and for this generous donation to the Strongest Families Institute. It will have a very real and positive impact on our province’s youth.”

Prince Edward Island has been offering Strongest Families Institute services for the past year, and the provincial government is joining with Bell Let’s Talk for a new contribution of $150,000.

“We are pleased to work with Bell Let’s Talk to enhance mental health supports for Island youth,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “Strongest Families is a tremendous program which has already helped more than 130 Island families. It is customized to each family’s needs, providing timely and efficient treatment to help our young people and their caregivers.”

About Strongest Families Institute

Strongest Families Institute (SFI) is a not-for-profit corporation founded in Nova Scotia and is internationally recognized for its effective evidence-based programs for children, youth and families dealing with mild to moderate mental health and other issues impacting health and well-being. They provide timely, accessible care to families by teaching skills through a unique distance coaching approach – supporting families, over the phone and Internet, in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Strongest Families provides family-centered care that is customized to their needs with programs designed to support children and youth from 3-17 years of age. For more information, please visit:

About Bell Let’s Talk

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Bell Let’s Talk Day alongside significant Bell funding for community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives.

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 is on January 25, when Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every text message, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell customers; every tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk; every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter on Snapchat. To learn more, please visit:

Bell Let’s Talk now has its own hashtag emoji on Twitter. Now, whenever you type #BellLetsTalk or #BellCause in Twitter, the Bell Let’s Talk logo automatically appears at the end of the hashtag.

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. Bell Let’s Talk Day 2016 set new records for engagement with 125.9 million messages of support, and Bell increased its funding for Canadian mental health by $6,295,764.75.

Media inquiries:

Isabelle Boulet
Bell Media Relations
(877) 799-6299

Tina Black
Office Assistant, Strongest Families Institute
(902) 442-9520

Tracy Barron
Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
(902) 424-4616

Véronique Taylor
New Brunswick Department of Health
(506) 444-4583

Autumn Tremere
Senior Communications Officer
PEI Department of Health and Wellness
(902) 368-5510

Emily Timmins Media Relations Manager Department of Health and Community Services (709) 729-6986, (709) 693-1292