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Kids Help Phone users report less distress after counselling

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  • Kids Help Phone users report less distress after counselling

    To all you young people living with TS and dealing with it on your own,
    here is some research from Kids Help Phone that reveal calling a helpline = a "meaningful reduction" in distress.
    However, the Kids Help Phone is just one avenue for you, the TSFC Forum is another.
    So please, keep in touch with us, we're here to help you.
    Tina speaking on behalf of all the TSFC Forum moderators.

    Kids Help Phone users report less distress after counselling
    Expert says service filling a need, particularly among aboriginal youth and youth in rural areas
    By: Bruce DeMara Entertainment, Staff Reporter, The Star, Published on Wed Apr 03 2013

    Kids Help Phone services have a major impact on reducing distress by its users, the first studies conducted in the service’s 24-year history have found.

    The first in-house study found 87 per cent of callers who used the 24-hour confidential telephone counselling service reported a “meaningful reduction” in distress.

    A second study of the live chat counselling service — introduced as pilot project last year for four nights a week between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. — found 75 per cent of users reported lower levels of distress.

    Dr. Michael Ungar, a professor of social work at Dalhousie University, said the studies show Kids Help Phone is filling a need for young people across the country, in particular aboriginal and rural youth.

    “It’s very clear that these are the vulnerable and hidden kids in our community that seem to be reaching out . . . and the service is diverse enough and there’s enough doorways into the service that it’s definitely showing itself to be effective,” he said.

    Ungar said he’s particularly struck by numbers that show 10 per cent of callers identify themselves as being of First Nations or M├ętis heritage — twice their share of the Canadian population. The service also reaches out to a high number — 32 per cent in the survey — of young people living in rural communities.

    “You look at something like this and you realize, wow, they (counsellors) are actually reaching certain groups of kids that might not get services elsewhere such as aboriginal kids or rural kids,” Ungar said.

    Kids Help Phone president and CEO Sharon Wood said that until now the service has “only had anecdotal feedback from young people telling us that the service matters to them and is important. We’ve had quantitative evidence so to speak. Our phones keep ringing and the need keeps rising.”

    She added, “what this research has helped us really learn is what actual difference it makes to young people. This service has an impact.”

    Kids Help Phone handles about 5,000 inquiries weekly through three modes of communication: one-on-one anonymous counselling by phone, one-on-one live chat instant messaging and its interactive website, which includes forums and has distinct portals for kids and for teens. The website also provides visitors with information on more than 50 topics including puberty, bullying, sexual orientation, gangs and self-harm.

    The surveys of users, funded in part by a grant from the Ontario government, were conducted in three groups between October 2011 and July 2012. Those under 12 and those in acute crisis were excluded. Participants were also allowed to decline to answer questions. Upgraded technology to the service’s call centre allowed participants to remain anonymous.

    Among the other findings:

    • 41 per cent of callers had or were undergoing counselling with an outside therapist, while 11 per cent were on a waiting list.

    • 73 per cent of callers said they had a plan for dealing with their problem after counselling with Kids Help Phone services.

    • 58 per cent of respondents reported higher confidence in dealing with problems after counselling with Kids Help Phone services.

    • 43 per cent of survey respondents said it was the first time they had spoken with someone about their problem.

    Wood said the services offered by Kids Help Line aren’t meant to supplant the role of parents and aren’t entirely focused on “crisis” issues.

    “It isn’t just a crisis line. We’re there when guidance offices are closed and other services aren’t available. We also help kids work through issues that they then can talk over with their parents. Sometimes we get kids practicing with us how to talk through something or they’re worried about stressing out their parents. We have kids say ‘I don’t want to burden my parents, they have a lot on their plate,’” she said.

    The service receives a $1 million grant from Ontario’s Ministry of Education for its work on bullying issues, less than 10 per cent of its annual budget. The remainder is raised through fundraising events, foundations and private and corporate sponsors.
    Last edited by Tina; April 4, 2013, 01:37 PM.
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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