It’s not always easy to ask for help – especially when you’re young and struggling with issues.
For Matthew Ravida, he said reaching out to Kids Help Phone more than a decade ago was life-changing.
“It was a long process something that I wasn’t, you know, keen on doing at first … It was the best decision I made,” said Ravida, an ambassador with Kids Help Phone.
“I didn’t want to be a burden to my parents so I really didn’t feel the need to explain to them what I was actually going through because they just lost a son. I didn’t want to tell them, ‘Hey, you know, you have another son that’s very depressed and is contemplating suicide.’ It was something that was tough for me to kind of overcome and talk to my parents about.”
Ravida’s brother died of a brain aneurysm at 17 and they were extremely close. After his passing, what helped Ravida through his pain was the voice at the other end of the phone.
“Kids Help Phone is Canada’s 24/7 helpline for every young person from coast to coast to coast to contact us for information, support, and professional counselling,” said Alisa Simon, vice president of service innovation and chief youth officer with Kids Help Phone.
Some of the issues young people are facing today range from bullying to growing up to relationship challenges.
“But the number one reason that young people reach out to Kids Help Phone is mental health and emotional health,” said Simon.
Breaking down barriers for kids in crisis is what Kids Help Phone is all about. The service continues to evolve and just last year introduced a texting platform called ‘Crisis Text Line,’ powered by Kids Help Phone.
“We are analyzing every single text in real time as it comes in to determine who are more at risk for self-harm or suicide,” said Simon.
“And those conversations are triaged to the top so we get to those young people in under 40 seconds.”
“We’re seeing the rates increase of people contemplating suicide or depression going through the roof,” said Ravida.
“We’re the first helpline in all of Canada that’s getting to conversations by severity, rather than chronologically … and this is incredibly powerful because when a young person texts in and they’re standing on a bridge, you do not want to wait five minutes to connect,” said Simon.
“Services like this need to be preached on more and that kids of all ages know that it’s existing and it’s out there to help us,” said Ravida.