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

$21.5 million medical pot plant for Princeton

A $21.5 million medical marijuana facility - expected to provide 95 jobs… Continue reading

Seasonal cabins threatened by Cool Creek blaze

Fire burning out of control southeast of Princeton

BC Wildfire has close eyes on Snowy Mountain wildfire

BC Wildfire has a variety of plans depending how the wildfire near Keremeos changes in coming days

Dash cam helps Penticton RCMP arrest break and enter suspect

RCMP arrested a man after he was caught on dash cam trying to steal a truck

Sparks set to fly in new Okanagan College welding facility

Welding students based in Penticton will now have access to the new, $2.2 million facility

UPDATE: Air quality improves slightly

Breathing conditions are improving, though still not ideal

Evacuation alert for Dark Lake Valley area

There are 21 properties are affected

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

Troops heading to Lumby/Cherryville to lend a hand with wildfires

Canadian Armed Troops expected to be in the area by the end of the week

Thieves target tires and rims in Shuswap

Salmon Arm RCMP report two recent incidents, a van used in one theft was stolen in Surrey

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

Most Read