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

Two-vehicle accident sends one to hospital in South Okanagan

One person suffered injuries in a two-vehicle accident Monday on Highway 97

Spring break activities for kids in the Penticton area

Lots of things happening for kids during spring break in the South Okanagan

Reality show filming in Penticton is looking for participants

A real estate reality show is looking for homeowners and realtors to participate

Summerland to hold Seedy Saturday event

Seeds, bedding plants and information from master gardeners will be available

Penticton may have to give up $6M arena grant

Decision to be made on whether or not to return a $6 million grant for arena development strategy

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Okanagan organization helps provide water for all in Nepal

Presentation shares success of project at Okanagan Science Centre March 27

Most Read