Hundreds of kids in Saskatchewan reached out to Kids Help Phone by text during a pilot program launched shortly after the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy last April.
The original plan was to test the text-in counselling service in Manitoba.
“Within hours of that (the Broncos crash) occurring we decided that we needed to get out with a message that Kids Help Phone was available to any young person experiencing challenges,” Vice President of Service Innovation Alisa Simon told 650 CKOM. “About 700 have used the service in the last few months.”
Now the pilot has developed into a national program.
Simon said people can text the word TALK to 68-68-68 to reach trained volunteers who are overseen by paid professional supervisors.
“79 per cent of texters said had they not texted us for help they wouldn’t have done anything,” Simon said. “They wouldn’t have spoken to anybody else they would have ignored the issue.”
While the option to call into Kids Help Phone still exists Simon said people are becoming more comfortable using their thumbs to communicate.
According to Simon, texting offers more anonymity and privacy than a phone call.
The counselling service is hoping it can continue to adapt as kids become more tech-savvy by expanding into social media.