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Five companies who are leading the fight against mental illness in children and families

Global Child Forum


Five companies who are leading the fight against mental illness in children and families

October 10th marks World Mental Health Day, an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. 2022’s campaign slogan is ‘Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority’, and at Global Child Forum we stand behind this message.

Founded in 2009 by the Swedish Royal Family, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and business dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking. We believe in the power and responsibility of business, working in partnership with all parts of society, to create a prosperous, sustainable and just society for the world’s children. Since 2013, Global Child Forum has been benchmarking companies in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, assessing their implementations of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBPs). The data we collect can be used by corporates to help them assess their social impact, and by investors to inform their decision-making.

Global Child Forum’s benchmark report “The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2021” looked at 832 global companies considered to be the most influential in helping us reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The companies in the benchmark come from all sectors, represent all regions of the world and have been benchmarked on 27 indicators, each indicator clearly defined to provide an accurate overview of how companies are responding to, and reporting on, children’s rights. The benchmark offers a snapshot of how the world’s largest companies implement policies, processes and practices to systematize their approach to children’s rights.

When collecting the data about the way these large corporations protect and promote children’s rights, we were happy to find several companies making an effort to support children’s mental health. Below are a selection of the top companies working to improve global mental health, especially in children and youth:


1. BCE: Establishing a kids help line and charity walk to raise money and awareness

BCE is a Canadian communications company, delivering a wide range of service innovations to consumers, businesses and government customers across Canada including 4G LTE, 5G, and 5G+, Fibe Internet and TV, Wireless Home Internet, cloud and data hosting, IP voice and collaboration and Internet of Things.

  • Bell is a founding partner of Kids Help Phone, supporting the mental health and well-being of young people. Bell’s partnership with Kids Help Phone enables innovative technology initiatives including online counselling through Live Chat, Resources Around Me, and Crisis Text Line. Team members also help organize and participate in the annual fundraising event, Walk so Kids Can Talk. With support from more than 65 vendor partners, the event featured a special screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and testimonial videos that gave attendees a look at the evolution of Kids Help Phone’s services, including the Crisis Text Line launched in 2018 with support from Bell Let’s Talk. (Source: Helping and protecting children and youth 2020, page 1, 2, 3, 4)


2. MedTronic: Emergency fund that covers mental health and financial counseling to employees and their family members

Medtronic is an American medical technology company, which engages in the development, manufacture, distribution, and sale of device-based medical therapies and services

  • All employees have access to the Medtronic Employee Assistance program (MEAP) and the Medtronic Employee Emergency Assistance Fund (MEEAF). MEAP supports employees and their families when faced with difficult times by providing a variety of services such as mental health and financial counseling at no cost. MEEAF was established in 2017 and provides need- based grants to support employees who are experiencing financial hardship. In response to the pandemic, the Medtronic Foundation increased its match to 2:1 and pledged an additional $1 million to MEEAF for COVID-19 assistance. The fund provides relief for Medtronic families around the world, supporting a wide variety of needs, from grocery bills to childcare. (Source: Integrated Report 2020 page 46, page 8)


3. ICA Gruppen: Chat hotline in partnership with the Swedish Red Cross Youth

ICA Gruppen is a leading Swedish retail company with focus on food and health. The Group includes ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic, which mainly conduct grocery retail, ICA Real Estate, which owns and manages properties, ICA Bank, which offers financial services, and Apotek Hjärtat, which conducts pharmacy business.

  • During the year ICA Bank and ICA Insurance launched an initiative called Vardagsvän (Everyday friend) to draw attention to mental health issues among children and young adults. This is a joint initiative with the Jourhavande Kompis (“Friend on call”) chat hotline, a programme of the Swedish Red Cross Youth. The purpose of this joint initiative is to raise awareness of the chat hotline as a means of support and a channel when children and young people need someone to talk to. (Source: Annual Report 2020, page 120)


4. The Estée Lauder Companies: Raising awareness about mental illness and prevention through school outreach and supporting an online mental health support centre

The Estée Lauder Companies is an American company, and one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. The company’s products are sold in approximately 150 countries and territories under brand names including: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Lab Series, Origins, M·A·C, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Bumble and bumble, Darphin Paris, TOM FORD BEAUTY, Smashbox, AERIN Beauty, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, GLAMGLOW, KILIAN PARIS, Too Faced, Dr.Jart+, and the DECIEM family of brands, including The Ordinary and NIOD.

  • Funded through the sale of Jo Malone London Charity Home Candles, the brand supports organizations that help to raise awareness about mental health. Through its partnership with The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Jo Malone London sponsored an outreach program that impacted 8,000 schools in the United Kingdom, raising awareness of mental illness and prevention and helping to identify and address the mental health needs of children at an early age. The brand also supports the creation of community gardens that serve as safe havens for those with mental illness as well as provide them with horticulture skills to use as they seek employment. Jo Malone London stylists also volunteer across various projects. In fiscal years 2017 through 2020, U.K. stylists gave 3,755 hours of their time to help raise awareness of mental health.
  • To raise awareness around mental health, BECCA Cosmetics raised money for the Jed Foundation between May and June 2020 by donating $5 from the sale of every full-size Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in the United States during that time. The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. BECCA’s donation will help fund the creation and operation of Jed’s new online, interactive Mental Health Support Center for one year. The Support Center is a digital resource platform that will support more than 100,000 people annually.
    (Source: Citizenship Sustainability Report 2020, age 89)


5. Pacific Mutual Fund Holding Company (Pacific Life): Supporting a children’s hospital and mental health wing

An American company, Pacific Life has helped millions of individuals and families with their financial needs through a wide range of life insurance products, annuities, and mutual funds, and offers a variety of investment products and services to individuals, businesses, and pension plans. Pacific Life offers innovative products and services that provide value and financial security for current and future generations

  • Pacific Life has supported patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) throughout the years in various way, including one-time grants, multi-year grants, as well as through our matching gifts program. In 2015, there were no inpatient mental health services for children under age 12 in Orange County, and there was a shortage of beds (only 32) for teenagers. The Foundation’s large grant supported CHOC’s Pediatric Mental Health Initiative to address the need of opening an inpatient mental health program on CHOC’s main campus. The 18-bed center now serves children who are a danger to themselves or others, or whose mental health condition makes them otherwise unable to function. (Source: Pacific Life and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC): Partnering in our Community Since the 1980s)


Caitlin Jackson Bernéus

Corporate Communications Manager

Caity is responsible for developing and delivering the communications Global Child Forum has with external stakeholders. She’s spent over a decade working in global health, gender equality, and strategic communications, having co-founded and served as Communications Director of Women in Global Health. She’s consulted for UN, private, and NGO clients and is a founding Board Member of the Women in Global Health Swedish Chapter. Caity has a Masters in Medical Science (Global Health) from Karolinska Institute and an undergraduate degree from the University of Ottawa, and came to GCF after 5 years at the Stockholm School of Economics.