November 7, 2018 8:23 am

Young people can now text for mental health help through Kids Help Phone across Canada

Kids Help Phone is moving forward with the national rollout of a 24/7 bilingual texting mental health support service for Canadian youth.

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Canadian youth can now access mental health support through a free bilingual texting service being rolled out across the country by Kids Help Phone.

The charitable organization is introducing the 24/7 texting support option through a service partnership with U.S.-based helpline and technology pioneer Crisis Text Line.

A pilot project begun in February in Manitoba and select provinces has logged more than 13,000 texting conversations between young people seeking help and trained volunteer crisis responders.

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READ MORE: Crisis texting line now available for kids in Manitoba 24/7

The pilot study showed the most common issues affecting young people were anxiety, relationships and feelings of isolation.

Twenty-four per cent of texters reached out because of suicidal thoughts.

The confidential service is accessible by texting TALK to 686868 for an English-speaking crisis responder and TEXTO to 686868 to reach a French-speaking counsellor on any text/SMS- enabled cellphone.

READ MORE: Crisis texting service will soon take off across Canada — Manitoba is the launching ground

The texting service requires no data plan, Internet connection or app.

For many young people, a lack of privacy, unreliable Internet, and limited data plans make it difficult to communicate by phone.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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