Challenge description

The Kids Help Phone Tech For Change Challenge (the “Challenge”) is rallying the Canadian technology and innovation ecosystem to rapidly build, scale and transform access to equitable mental health resources through the power of our technology, data, innovation and community partnership. It’s time for us to think beyond the current state of mental health and consider how young people interact with technology with the goal of well-being at the core. We’re searching for innovative solutions that can address one or multiple challenges that are priority areas for youth mental health as identified by Kids Help Phone.

Who should participate?

Solution providers in any of the following domains: Platform and emerging technology startups, social media network providers, AI experts, researchers and both private and public sector organizations including non-profit entities.

Applicants don’t need to be experts in e-mental health care to apply. But they do need to have a potentially transformational technology solution and a commitment to its responsible deployment. Successful candidates will work with Kids Help Phone (KHP) and participate in youth engagement sessions as subject matter experts.

What’s the award?

  • Successful candidates will participate in a funded pilot program with Kids Help Phone. The total funding for the Challenge Prize Pool will be announced later in 2024 and will be distributed across the awarded participating companies.
  • The opportunity to build and explore a technology pilot program with KHP to bring your solution to market with an established leader in the e-mental health service delivery space.
  • The opportunity to be profiled on the main stage at Elevate Festival 2024 and receive VIP tickets to Elevate Festival 2024 and CIX 2025.

What’s happening now?

  • Challenge closing date to be announced.
  • Stay tuned – Interested in staying up-to-date with the Challenge? – submit here to be notified when the Challenge has been launched.
  • If you’d like to join our support network, connect with us here.


Right now, youth in Canada are in crisis — one that affects us all. And young people are struggling more than we even know. Recognizing this is not enough. Kids Help Phone (KHP), in collaboration with MaRS Discovery District and Elevate, is galvanizing the innovation community to rally together for youth. The challenge aims to find, develop and bring to market ideas to create a range of resources that can be personalized and adapted to the needs of young people and the e-mental healthcare landscape in Canada.

But solutions can’t happen in a silo. That’s why KHP, MaRS Discovery District and Elevate have partnered up, harnessing technology and innovation to co-create a brighter future for youth and their mental health. We’re mobilizing to help deliver clinical service in every corner of Canada, advance equity for all youth and transform the country’s virtual care system through world-leading technology. Every ripple we make together helps ensure the future of generations.

The facts

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth in Canada. Since 2020, KHP has had over 18 million interactions with people in Canada, with over 75 percent of folks sharing things they’ve never disclosed to anyone else. In a study from StatsCanada, 57 percent of teens aged 15 to 17 reported worse or much worse mental health since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rapid pace of change in the lives of young people, combined with the complexities they face and the ever-evolving tech landscape, demands a disruptive and innovative approach to connect with youth and offer them more robust and equitable e-mental health resources.


Challenge Statement

In our youth engagement sessions, we uncovered a harsh reality — young people are grappling with an onslaught of challenges: information overload, a labyrinthine mental health support system, the weight of mental health stigma, systemic prejudices, intergenerational trauma, a lack of support networks, concerns about privacy and confidentiality… the list goes on.

It’s time to confront these issues directly with an innovative mindset, courage and tenacity. You can join the movement to unlock hope for more young people to thrive in their worlds by submitting your technology solution to the Challenge.

Revolutionizing youth e-mental health care

We seek to make a tangible difference in the youth e-mental health care ecosystem across Canada in the following areas:

  • Offering support to those who might not have experience in asking for help to recognize their feelings and prioritize their well-being.
  • Meeting youth where they are in a way that resonates with them earlier in their experience and helping to lower the mental load they may experience when contacting / accessing a service.
  • Connecting with youth before they meet crisis points by optimizing KHP’s service delivery and products.

Solutions will need to:

  • Address barriers youth often face in accessing mental health resources that address one or more issues identified in the Challenge statement.
  • Aid Kids Help Phone staff in addressing one or more of these issues.
  • Take an ethical approach to handling sensitive data. Applicants will receive tech stewardship guidance throughout the pilot program.

At Kids Help Phone, we’re proud to boast the largest dataset in the Canadian e-mental health landscape, comprising over 38.5 million messages and 1 million transcripts, along with 1.8 million interactions of contact center data and over 1.4 million post-conversation contact forms filled in by our frontline staff. This extensive dataset underscores our commitment to providing confidential and anonymous support to the youth of Canada, aligning perfectly with our core value statement. As we continue to innovate, we’re excited to extend access to our external data points, fostering collaboration in building solutions that will further empower and support the youth of our nation. We invite you to join us on this journey.

Connect with us

Connect with us

Do you have a question about how to get involved? If so, you can:

Send us an email:

Give us a call: 647-255-1452

Write us a letter:
MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Centre, South Tower
101 College Street, Suite 100
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1L7

Connect with us


Kids Help Phone