Richard Branson and Demi Lovato Among Backers of Mental Health Fund

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Richard Branson, Demi Lovato

The coronavirus pandemic has led to strict isolation orders across the globe, increasing anxiety and other mental health challenges for young people. The newly launched fund seeks to provide resources for those in need.

Richard Branson and Demi Lovato are among the backers of a new fund aimed at easing the strain of the coronavirus pandemic by providing mental health services to those in need.

Branson and Lovato, who has long been open about her mental health and substance abuse challenges, have partnered with Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite, Canadian Family Foundations and Draper Richards Kaplan on the initiative, known as The Mental Health Fund. So far, they've already raised $2 million to support the work of organizations that provide crisis intervention via text message, 24/7.

Crisis Text Line serves as founder of The Mental Health Fund, which is operating with a goal of reaching $5 million.

"So many people have been left alone with their thoughts, their abusers, their anxieties, and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times," said Lovato in a statement. "I know not everyone has the ability to get the help they need so my hope is that this fund can bring support to help alleviate some of the hardship and pain people are going through."

Other organizations involved in the launch include Shout UK, Kids Help Phone and SpunOut.ie, and each of those groups reported massive increases in call and text volumes from those in need of help. "The virus itself is awful and causing anxiety and grief and then the quarantines and financial ruin is causing different intense pain," said Nancy Lublin, CEO and co-founder of Crisis Text Line. "We're here for all of it. Bring it on. We got you."

Added RBC president and CEO Dave McKay: "Physical distancing is tough on everyone, but it's particularly challenging for those who are anxious about reaching out for help. By supporting The Mental Health Fund, RBC is helping make sure resources are available for those struggling with the day-to-day challenges of a more isolated world. We encourage everyone to seek the support they need, when they need it."

More information about the Mental Health Fund and its GoFundMe campaign be found here