How Kids Help Phone Can Help You

Moving to a new country can often feel scary, lonely and downright stressful—and having someone to talk to can make all the difference. If you have a problem or you’re just feeling alone, Kids Help Phone is there for you.

Whether you’re dealing with something big, like suicidal thoughts, or something smaller, like a fight you’re having with your parents, you can call or go online any time of the day or night to talk to a professional counsellor about it. It’s free, it’s confidential, and it’s a great way to cope with whatever’s bothering you.

If you’re nervous about asking for help, read on for some reassurance. NewYouth recently sat down with Liz Worth, Communications Coordinator at Kids’ Help Phone, to ask her some questions about what you can expect when you use the forums at www.kidshelpphone.ca or dial 1-800-668-6868.

NewYouth:
Who can call Kids Help Phone?

Kids Help Phone:

Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to kids, teens and young adults from any community in Canada. It’s always free to call or to access our services online at www.kidshelpphone.ca. Our website offers web-based counselling services through the Ask Us Online forum. And if you’re not ready to ask a question, or just want to get more information, our Info Booth is always being updated with current information on the many issues that matter to young people today. At www.kidshelpphone.ca you will also find games and other interactive tools.

NewYouth:
Are calls to Kids Help Phone always confidential? Will they show up on my parent’s phone bill?

Kids Help Phone:

We take privacy very seriously. All calls and online posts are anonymous and confidential. We don’t have caller ID and we don’t trace calls or IP addresses. Kids don’t have to tell us their name, phone number or address.

Our number will not show up on your bill if you call us using a land line. If you call from a cell phone, the number may show up on your bill. People who have cell phone plans with Bell can use *6868 to call us. This call is free and will not appear on your cell phone bill. Even though we’re committed to providing confidential service, we can’t control the way phone companies bill their customers.

NewYouth:
Do I need to have a ‘serious’ problem to call... like feeling depressed or suicidal?

Kids Help Phone:

From trouble with homework, to grief and loss, to thoughts of suicide, kids contact us for many different reasons. As normal as they are, intense emotions can be challenging and asking for help is a healthy way to cope. Kids Help Phone is available to all young people in Canada, no matter the situation, question or concern.

The counsellors are trained and able to respond with well-researched information on more than 50 topics that youth tell us are important to them today.

These topics fall under four main categories:

  1. Relationships: Including family relationships, relationships with friends and dating.
  2. Mental and emotional health: Topics like addictions, discrimination, eating disorders, loss, managing emotions, self-esteem and self-injury.
  3. Violence: Abuse, bullying, discrimination, sexual harassment and more.
  4. Suicide: Thoughts of suicide, previous suicide attempt or loss of someone by suicide.

NewYouth:
Are there counsellors available who speak languages other than English?

Kids Help Phone:

We are proud to offer our services in Canada’s two official languages (English and French) and believe that most children living in Canada are fluent in one or both languages. Through our database of almost 37,000 community and social services, we can connect young people to cultural resources in their communities where those services exist.

NewYouth:
How will Kids Help Phone deal with my call if I have trouble speaking English or French?

Kids Help Phone:

If you have trouble communicating with us, the counsellor will slow things down and spend time working with you. During difficult or challenging calls such as these, counsellors may also ask a Counselling Manager to join them on the call through silent monitoring and work together as a team to problem solve.

NewYouth:
If I’m worried about something that relates to my religion or culture (like being embarrassed to wear a hijab at school even though my parents want me to), will you be able to give me advice that deals with my situation?

Kids Help Phone:

Our counsellors are trained to counsel callers on these types of issues and they each have access to a database of almost 37,000 community resources across the country, including ones that are culturally-specific. Once a caller’s issue is identified, counsellors can provide them with all the available options to help them make their own decisions that respect their values and culture.

NewYouth:
If I’m worried about something that relates to my religion or culture (like being embarrassed to wear a hijab at school even though my parents want me to), will you be able to give me advice that deals with my situation?

Kids Help Phone:

How does Kids Help Phone make sure their database of 37,000 community resources are appropriate for youth in general and for newcomer youth in particular?

We have a set of criteria that a community resource must meet before being added to our database. For example, it has to be a service in Canada. It cannot be a private service, like a private therapist, and it must present information and handle issues in a way that is free from discrimination. The resource must also serve youth within our mandate.

For newcomer youth in particular, we look for organizations that meet this criteria and that also specifically serve this population. If there are any concerns or questions about an organization, we either follow up with them directly or we consult with recognized agencies to decide if the service is appropriate for the youth we serve.

NewYouth:
If I give my contact information, will Kids Help Phone ever follow up with me, or with the community resource I was referred to?

Kids Help Phone:

Because Kids Help Phone is a confidential and anonymous service, we don’t collect contact information to do follow-ups. Under no circumstance would we trace a call or track an IP address.

The only time we would ever go against our anonymous and confidential promise is if a caller chooses to share their personal information (like their name or address) and they are in one of the following situations:

  • Someone is hurting them, has hurt them, or is likely to hurt them in the future.
  • The caller is planning to hurt themselves or someone else.
  • A crime has been committed.

It is illegal for counsellors not to report these situations to the police, but they would have to know who the caller was and what was happening to them in order to make a report.

As for community resources, we only complete forms for referrals that are made to emergency services (like police, EMS or the Children’s Aid Society). Once we’ve referred you to an emergency service, and we know you’re safe, the call ends, and we don’t follow up. If the emergency service needs more information, they may call us back and ask to speak to the counsellor who took the call.

Teaser: 

<p>Moving to a new country can often feel scary, lonely and downright stressful—and having someone to talk to can make all the difference. If you have a problem or you’re just feeling alone, Kids Help Phone is there for you. Whether you’re dealing with something big, like suicidal thoughts, or something smaller, like a fight you’re having with your parents, you can call or go online any time of the day or night to talk to a professional counsellor about it. It’s free, it’s confidential, and it’s a great way to cope with whatever’s bothering you.</p>