The charitable organization Kids Help Phone is finding new ways to help Canadian youth deal with mental health issues.
Through a free bilingual texting service, available across the country, kids can access support for mental health 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The innovative way to connect young people with the support they need has partnered with the Crisis Text Line in bringing a new way to reach out for help.
By texting CONNECT to 686868 (or TEXTO for French-language service), people can chat confidentially with a trained Crisis Responder for support with any issue, big or small. People wishing to use the service don’t need a data plan, Internet connection or an app to use it. All conversations between young people and the volunteer responder are completely confidential.
“Some people get a little weirded out when they hear the word ‘counselling.’ That’s OK,” says the Kids Help Phone website. “Basically, counselling is about talking to someone who knows a lot about many different issues that young people face. We think of counselling as a conversation with someone whom you can trust, who won’t judge you, and who wants to help.”
A pilot project began last winter to test out the hotline which received more than 13,000 text conversations between Canadian youth and trained crisis responders.
The study showed the most common issues affecting young people in Canada were anxiety, relationship problems and feelings of isolation. 24% of texters reached out with suicidal thoughts.
For many young people in the country, a lack of privacy, unreliable Internet and limited phone plans made it difficult to communicate with professional help by phone.