With social distancing and school closures across the country as a result of COVID-19, children and young adults have access to even fewer mental health supports. Friends, teachers, guidance counsellors and school nurses are no longer there, with many adults re-deployed or isolated to help control the outbreak.
Moreover, as Canada’s only 24/7, bilingual, national help line, Kids Help Phone is receiving exponential volumes referred to us from government and other services. We may be the only place for young people to turn for mental health support during this unprecedented time.
And yet, meeting these needs will be challenging. We anticipate a negative impact on funds raised through in-person events at a time when these resources are needed more than ever. With a special donation, you can ensure we will continue to be there for every young person who needs us.
Kids Help Phone is planning for 2,000 interactions daily initially (a 33% increase) and will expand as required. We are vigilant to surges in suicide ideation, domestic violence and abuse during this crisis, particularly as young people and families are forced to socially isolate. We continue to see 20% of our service requests related to suicide, and conduct more than 10 active rescues every day.
To meet the growing demand from youth, and the complexity of their needs, we are:
- Rapidly increasing support offered through Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone;
- Mobilizing over 1,900 trained volunteers, and recruiting additional helpers, to increase our active Crisis Responder network;
- Transitioning professional counsellors to remote environments (requiring detailed logistics and new technology);
- Heightening our diligence protocols and working with our Police and emergency response partners in advance of a likely surge in suicide attempts; and
- Developing new, and promoting existing, youth-facing digital resources and social media content.
With your support, we can take action and meet the growing needs of young people in crisis – now more than ever.