Kids Help Phone - Alberta Region Office
Our Story Why We Exist
Young people in Canada have been turning to Kids Help Phone for help during their most difficult challenges for more than 27 years. Our Five-Year goal is for Kids Help Phone to be the most nimble, accessible, effective access point for young people to the support they need.
All too often, our counsellors hear from kids suffering from verbal or emotional abuse. These young people can feel worthless, depressed, and anxious. Some even start to believe they deserve the negativity. It’s so important for these kids to have someone they can open up to.
Here is the story of a past service user who came forward with his story as an ambassador of our services.
Kids Help Phone helps kids in Canada over 1 million times per year, 6 years ago I was 1 in a million. Today I reflect back to say thank you, to let you know I survived, and to speak out so others can also survive.
When I was nine years old my parents became divorced. Shortly after I became an outlet for my mother’s feelings. At first it started with unrealistic expectations, and when I couldn't fulfil her expectations she would hit me. Shortly after that a new activity started... what she called “special time” locked in her room she sexually abused me, she made me powerless with threats that she would harm my brother, or even take my life. Special time became routine for nine more years... I grew numb, my grades dropped in school, I became a target of bullies, I felt like an empty shell labelled “child”.
In grade 12 I wasn't sure why I was still alive. Routines at home had become so ordinary I had no idea something was wrong. I felt my life was normal, and one day I casually mentioned some of the things that happened at home when one of my friends was explaining how she got in trouble. I remember the blank looks on their face after I spoke... I didn't believe it at the time but my life at home was not okay, and it should never be normal. That day was the longest day in my life so far... what started as a casual mention to a friend, became a conversation with a teacher, which then went to a school counsellor who made a call to child services. I felt I betrayed my mom, and I still remember my friend sitting with me during lunch as I cried, scared, lost, and confused.
I ended up living with my brother, safe from the routine... but not from the memories. I didn't know how to process the feelings and at that point it felt hopeless. That’s when I found Kids Help Phone; I saw your number on the cereal box. I didn't know if you could help someone like me but I had to try. I was very scared on my first call but even though they weren't with me they quickly made me feel safe. I told you about my mother, I talked about how angry I was at myself and how I dealt with those feelings. You didn't laugh or judge me, instead you gave me hope, you gave me courage, and you told me I was brave.
You connected me with local counsellors I could talk to and you were always there on the nights I was overwhelmed. You gave me homework to keep me going, little tasks like listing what I like about myself or what I dream to be. When I felt alone you shared with me the idea of a “chosen family,” picking people I trust and can build a strong relationship with. Today I have a “chosen Family” that consists of my biological brother along with four sisters, a mother and a father.
On New Year’s Eve you gave me strength to fight through another year, at midnight the first person I said “Happy New Year’s” to was a counsellor named Sandra.
I came to you broken and alone, you helped me find the strength to keep moving forward. You were role models on how I deserved to be treated as a person. I want you to know I'm much stronger now. In an analogy you once used, I'm in the driver’s seat now and the past memories no longer fill my rear view mirror. So many amazing things have happened that they are only minor bumps in the distance. I have a growing career; I've gone back to my high school and spoken on hope. I've had the opportunity to tell kids about Kids Help Phone and I will always be a volunteer in order to encourage kids to always raise their voice. I am truly thankful for Kids Help Phone being there... for me, 1 in a million... Thank You!
Our Impact What We Do
A Leader and Trusted Resource
Growing up isn’t easy – it was true when Kids Help Phone opened our phone lines for the first time in 1989, and it continues to be true today.
Kids Help Phone is the only national helpline for children and young people in Canada. For over 27 years our trained, professional counsellors have been listening to young people asking to be heard, understood and supported – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our free and anonymous service supports young people as they build the skills and abilities they’ll need to improve their emotional health and well-being today and for the long-term.
Viewed as a leader internationally, Kids Help Phone has developed unparalleled expertise and insight into the issues youth are facing that impact their social and emotional health. As an organization that speaks with young people every day, Kids Help Phone works to share their perspectives and improve their well-being on a societal level.
We are known for our expertise and continuous innovation as Canada’s only 24/7 counselling and information service for young people.
As a national charity, we could not do this important, life-changing work without the generous support of our donors and supporters.
- Alberta youth account for 5.9% of all counselling sessions (~8 counselling sessions/day)
- Alberta youth visited Kids Help Phone website 61,271 times in 2016, or 168 times per day
- Mental/Emotional Health was the most frequently discussed issue at 31% of sessions
- Counsellor have access to a total of 1,880 resources in the resource database to refer youth to for Alberta services in their community
Our Programs How We Do It
Professional Counselling , Information & Referrals
Kids Help Phone provides one of the only professional after-hours services for young people nationwide.
Young people receive confidential and anonymous one-on-one help from a professional Kids Help Phone counsellor through two counselling formats; available in French and English:
Phone helpline Live Chat online counselling
(24/ 7/365) (8 hours, 5 evenings a week)
We provided counselling by phone or online to young people more than 52,000 times last year.
Our promise of anonymity and confidentiality gives kids the freedom to discuss issues they may not feel comfortable to share with friends or family.
For 40% of kids calling us, Kids Help Phone is the first place they turn for help.
Online Information Resources & Referrals:
Many young people may be too nervous or scared to reach out to a counsellor right away, so they can seek information from our website, which acts as a gateway, allowing young people to become comfortable with Kids Help Phone. Our online resources include the following:
- The Kids and Teens websites that offer tools and information on 100+ topics kids most frequently ask about including bullying, abuse, mental health, relationships and much more.
- Resources Around Me, an intuitive, map-based tool containing 6,953 records that young people can use to easily search and locate trusted resources that offer direct services in their own community, such as food banks, shelters, mental health services, child protection agencies and many other youth-focused programs and services.
- BroTalk, our strategy for male mental health and online portal with a direct link to Live Chat that provides teen guys aged 14 to 18 with somewhere to reach out when times are tough.
Our web resources are consulted more than a million times a year for safe, reliable information to navigate the complexities of growing up and help keep kids safe from harm.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Now more than ever, kids need Kids Help Phone.
Our professional counsellors are continually in touch with young people from across the country. This contact keeps us keenly aware of the emerging needs of young people and the year-over-year growth in demand for our services.
In fact, since 2010, telephone counselling has increased by 127%. This indicates that while Kids Help Phone now offers our trusted support online, many young people still want to hear a voice at the other end of the line. Our professional counsellors are there for that, ready to talk to kids, no matter how big or how small their problem may seem.
So just how important are our services? Consider that since 2013, there has been:
- 29% increase in counselling sessions from young people struggling with mental and emotional health concerns;
- 22% increase in counselling sessions from young people experiencing suicidal thoughts;
- 29% increase in demand for Live Chat counselling;
- 16% increase in callers aged 17-20+ who, in general, deal with a far more complex range of issues.
These are just a few of the indications that young people’s concerns are getting more complex. As a result of this, it can take us longer to respond to their needs. This means that, just as kids are struggling with their emotions and life challenges, we find ourselves struggling sometimes too – just to keep up with their demand for our service. That’s because more youth need us now than ever before.
By supporting Kids Help Phone, you’re committing to youth in your community. By making a donation to Kids Help Phone, you’re helping to ensure that kids in Canada can access our essential and trusted services in any moment of crisis or need. This would not be possible without support from generous donors like you. If you have any questions about your gift, or if you’d like to donate over the phone, please contact us.