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.

Just Posted

Former Shuswap optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Full loaded asphalt truck tips over on Shoemaker Hill

“No trucks” hill on 10th Avenue SE remains closed until later Thursday afternoon

Working it out at Roots and Blues Festival

A pot-pourri of talented artists will jam to make workshop magic this weekend

Armed Forces in town, new fire near Cherryville

Area restrictions expanded, firefighters equipment stolen

Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw put on hold

City council allows time to pursue more compassionate solutions

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Kelowna developer warns home buyers to look at more than the price tag

Kelowna developer Jeffrey Anderson wants first-time homeowners to look at more than the price tag.

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Canadian Armed Forces assist with mop-up of fire near West Kelowna

100 Armed Forces members are helping BC Wildfire crews with the Gottfriedson Mountain fire

Most Read