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Increased need prompts free virtual mental health talks for youth

Partnership comes in the wake of lockdowns, when calls and texts to Kids Help Phone have surged by 300 per cent
Supplied photo of Shayan Yazdanpanah, one of the 2,500 youth mental health leaders across Canada

Today, Hydro One and announced they will be partnering to address a growing demand for mental health resources. The partnership brings free virtual mental health talks to young people and their families across Ontario at a time when calls and texts to Kids Help Phone have increased by 300 per cent.

The livestreamed Jack Talks will help participants recognize the signs when someone is struggling and connect participants with access to free, virtual resources to support their mental health and well-being.

“There is no question that COVID-19 has, and will continue to, impact the mental health of young people across Ontario,” said Eric Windeler, Founder & Executive Director,

“With the demand for mental health support services increasing daily, it is critical that youth across the province have access to the information and support they need. Hydro One’s commitment to building safe communities is so admirable, and by including mental health education in this mission, they’re addressing youth resiliency head-on across the province.”

“At Hydro One, we believe we have a deep responsibility to support people and communities during this unprecedented time. With the stress and isolation associated with COVID-19, the need to connect young people, parents and all Ontarians with mental health resources has never been greater,” said Mark Poweska, President and CEO, Hydro One. “By taking part in a virtual Jack Talk, we can all learn how to better support our team members, parents and friends dealing with mental health struggles and crises.”

Participants of all ages are invited to attend Jack Talks delivered by two trained youth speakers on the following dates:

  • Feb. 18, 2021 led by Della Woodger and Alexa Hassall Shipman
  • Feb. 22, 2021 led by Julia Wickens and Kneev Sharma
  • Feb. 23, 2021 led by Jessica Landry and Josh Morin

Registration can be found at: was founded by Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington in 2010, after they lost their son Jack to suicide. Eric and Sandra started to engage youth in the most critical health issue of their generation, and to ensure that they are able to identify mental health struggles in themselves and others and have access to the support they need.

Through its partnership with Hydro One, the organization will host 200 live-streamed and recorded virtual Jack Talks in Ontario this year.