Kids Help Phone to launch 24/7 online chat for B.C. youth

The youth counselling service says the move comes to meet greater needs by kids in Canada

Kids Help Phone will be offering their live chat service 24/7 in Canada by the end of 2018, as more youth turn to counsellors through instant messaging rather than over the phone.

“[We’ve been] doing about half of our service through phone and half through live chat,” chief youth officer Alisa Simon said.

The nationwide youth counselling service started the online instant-messaging option for 40 hours a week in 2013, after seeing more young people wanting to reach out “with their fingers instead of their voice,” she said.

The response was huge. “They were reaching out with really serious concerns – a lot of conversations about suicide, abuse and neglect.”

So many youth prefer instant messaging because of the increased sense of anonymity, Simon said, and because they aren’t comfortable speaking about their problem and can review the conversation.

Simon said round-the-clock service, thanks to a $1-million donation by the Royal Bank of Canada, will especially help youth in B.C., who could only use it until 11 p.m. previously.

“What we found was that a lot of youth were coming to the chat service when it would be closed,” Simon said. But those kids wouldn’t necessarily call the 24/7 phone line.

READ MORE: Have you talked to your kids about staying safe online?

WATCH: How to talk to your kids about 13 Reasons Why

In 2017, eight per cent of the instant messaging sessions at Kids Help Phone came from B.C. – a number anticipated to increase.

Kids in Canada are most likely to reach out to counsellors with issues of anxiety. Suicide is often the third most common issue in other provinces, but it’s the second most common in B.C. More youth here also speak out on abuse than in the rest of the country.

“The good news is that every time those young people reach out to us, we have a moment where we’re able to save their lives,” Simon said. “The courage that it takes those young people to reach out in those really dark moments is really important to us.”

Youth can visit kidshelpphone.ca to chat with a counsellor, or call 1-800-668-6868.

If you or anyone you know needs support for depression or suicide-related mental health problems, call the Canadian Assistance in Suicide Prevention 24/7 hotline at 1-888-353-2273.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney part of a region that suffers ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Consultants find that Sidney needs 233 new spaces to meet the current demand for daycare

Thieves harvest from 11 unlocked cars in Oak bay

Looting unlocked cars called ‘farming,’ says deputy chief

Friday night tickets affect Saturday behaviour at the University of Victoria

Saanich police see direct response after issuing several $230 fines

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

West Shore RCMP seeks video footage after homeowner interrupts Colwood break and enter

Police were called to 600-block of Stornoway Drive late Sunday

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19 liquor, music rules extended with fines

‘Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs’

Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

James is among 15 MLAs retiring at the end of their current term

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Most Read