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

More rescues, less flames: Future of Abbotsford firefighting up for discussion

Mayor says talks with province needed, councillors suggest city may need more full-time firefighters

String of purse snatches at Mill Lake in Abbotsford

Two women were mugged in a three week period starting Sept. 30

Harrison outdoor skating rink to open this weekend

Public skating will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Mission principal saves goat, praised as hero by kindergarten students

“Today I get to be the hero in their eyes, changing the world one stuck goat at a time”

Abbotsford man’s murder trial set for January

David Albert Miller charged in death of 52-year-old woman in Kamloops

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read