Mental Health Support By Text Launches For Kids

November 7, 2018
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Kids Help Phone says that almost a quarter of youth in pilot study texted about suicidal thoughts.

Canadian youth are now able to access mental health support through a free bilingual texting service being rolled out across Canada by Kids Help Phone.

The charitable organization is introducing the 24/7 texting support option via a service partnership with U.S. based helpline Crisis Text Line.

A pilot project started in February in some provinces logged over 13,000 texting conversations between youngsters seeking help and trained volunteer crisis responders.

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The pilot study indicated that the most common issues affecting young people were anxiety, relationships and feelings of isolation. 

24% of texters reached out because of suicidal thoughts.

The confidential service is accessible by texting TALK to 686868 for an English-speaking crisis responder and TEXTO to 686868 to reach a French-speaking counsellor on any text/SMS- enabled cellphone.

“As we move forward with the national rollout, we are again boldly changing the landscape in virtual care knowing the Canada of tomorrow is depending on how we deal with the mental health needs our youth are facing today,” said Katherine Hay, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone.

The service requires no data plan, internet connection or an app. For many young people, a lack of privacy, unreliable internet, and limited data plans make it difficult to communicate by phone, Kids Help Phone said.

The organization also continues to offer its phone and online Live Chat services.

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