A powerful group of Canadian stars are banding together for an incredible cause. For a new UNICEF campaign tackling youth crises in Canada, big names like Celine Dion, Patrick J. Adams, Avril Lavigne and more are bringing awareness to some shocking statistics about youth mental health and well-being in the Great White North.
Sadly, a new report released by UNICEF shows that Canada is placed 25 th out of 41 countries when comparing the well-being of children in the richest parts of the world. And after 10 years, these statistics have not improved. Their campaign, in partnership with One Youth Canada, hopes to make a difference – and more than 20 of Canada’s biggest stars are lending a hand. The impressive roster also includes Eugene Levy, Jason Priestley, Keanu Reeves, Elisha Cuthbert, Alessia Cara, tennis star Eugenie Bouchard and many more.
With the video campaign and the simple statement “we need to talk,” stars are encouraging their fans to educate themselves on issues facing Canadian youth and commit to making the country a better place for kids. All it takes is a trip to their website and a signature, committing an action to help make a difference.
And for some of these stars, it isn’t their first time joining forces with UNICEF. Back in 1997, Celine performed at a UNICEF benefit concert where she sang her hit “My Heart Will Go On.” Now, the GRAMMY winner opens up about the issue of bullying. And as a mother of three, this is surely something that hits close to home. “Hey Canada. We’re known to be polite and civilized, right? People even tend to joke about it,” she says to the camera. “But reality is not as nice or polite. When kids get bullied, it can lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide, so we gotta try to change that and we have to.”
These celebrities are starting an important conversation around the state of youth in the country, from the amount of kids living in poverty to teen suicide rates to bullying. “Every child in Canada has the right to the best possible opportunities and outcomes. Right now, that’s not what many of them are getting,” David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO, said. “Our society has grown more unequal and children and youth are paying the price. But Canada has what it takes to do better.”