In case you weren’t aware, 70 per cent of mental health issues are known to begin during childhood. Until recently, Kids Help Phone has offered confidential counselling and support only via phone and live web chat across the country.
This week, the Canadian charitable organization—the only round-the-clock national support service—officially rolled out its new texting program throughout the country in partnership with the U.S.-based Crisis Text Line. According to research conducted by Kids Help Phone, 42 per cent of young people say they would rather write than speak about their problem, and 71 per cent prefer a non-verbal form of communication, like texting.
The service, the first of its kind in Canada, was tested out earlier this year in Manitoba, with soft launches following in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and more. During the trial, the top five reasons young people reach out to for support included anxiety, depression, relationships, isolation and suicidal thoughts. The results? 86 per cent of participants reported reduced stress levels after texting with a crisis responder. The test run also found that 87 per cent of participants felt less alone, less distressed, less upset, more hopeful, more confident and more in-control after texting with a responder.
“With our pilot of Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, we set out to meet youth where they need us most, and the response has shown us that this is a vital support service for young people in Canada,” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone in a press release.
The 24/7 texting service is now available across Canada—all you have to do is text CONNECT to 686868 from a cell phone with texting/SMS-capabilities. Yes, that means you don’t need data or an internet connection to get in touch.
For more information, visit kidshelpphone.ca.
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