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Kids Help Phone launching text message service

Kids Help Phone is putting out a nationwide call for more volunteers, as it prepares to launch a new service.

Young people will soon be able to text the crisis hotline.

VP of Counselling Services Alisa Simon said they will be testing the waters in Manitoba starting next month.

“We’re really hoping that within, you know, four to six months, we’ll have learned a ton, we’ll understand what demand is, we’ll really know how to serve the needs of young, people and that we will be looking as the capacity grows that the service will be expanded, and that we will be able to go Canada-wide pretty quickly,” she said.

She said it will be meeting a tremendous need.

“Particularly (for) those that live in rural, remote areas, young people that are living in areas where they maybe don’t have privacy to speak on the phone, or where they don’t have a strong internet connection,” Simon said.

“We’ve been providing live chat for many, many years and this is a new way to allow young people to reach out in the ways that they are already communicating with each other,” she explained.

However, they are going to need more help.

Anyone interested in helping can become a crisis responder by applying online, passing an online training program and a police background check, and by committing to volunteer at least four hours a week for at least a year.

“It also is going to be providing a huge opportunity for adults all over Canada who want to be more involved with Kids Help Phone’s work and who want to be more involved in helping young people to become a volunteer,” said Simon.