Alberta youth spoke about suicide and suicide-related topics more than any other one issue with Kids Help Phone counsellors in 2017, and now officials are working to address the trend.
“That to us was a red flag that we knew we needed to start talking about,” Alisa Simon, the Kids Help Phone vice president of counselling services and programs, said in a recent interview.
In 2017, 7.7 per cent of all calls to Kids Help Phone came from young people in Alberta, and 25,237 visits to the service’s website originated from the province. A total of 12 per cent of contacts between Alberta youth and Kids Help Phone counsellors were related to suicide.
“The good news is that if they’re reaching out, we have an opportunity to help them,” Simon said.
“That is them saying they need to talk to somebody and they need help right then.”
The service is hoping to grow its operations in the province, by expanding the hours and days its online live chat service is available for young people to access. Simon also said she wants a text-messaging pilot project in Manitoba to also be implemented in Alberta.
WATCH: Crisis text line added by Kids Help Phone
“Young people are demanding that we are available for them in the way they want, when they want it, whether that’s two in the morning or five in the morning or during the school day.”