Who is Kids Help Phone?

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national service offering bilingual (English and French) professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people.

Our history

Kids Help Phone has a pioneering history, bringing new solutions to critical problems young people face. Created in 1989 to provide a way for youth to confidentially report abuse, a unique telephone counselling service was launched providing free, accessible support to any young person reaching out, anywhere in the country.

Almost immediately, young people let us know they needed more from the service than one focus and one channel to reach us.

Over the past 30 years, we’ve evolved our response and solutions, always concentrating on staying relevant to youth, recognizing the complexity of issues they face and ensuring counsellors are ready to address the continuum of emotional and mental health needs from crisis situations to the everyday concerns of growing up.

Within the last decade, Kids Help Phone has tested, launched and evaluated new service offerings validating the quality of our service and the impact we have on young lives, building expert digital resources and youth outreach campaigns and securing a growing base of funders to support young people in Canada.

Fast forward to 2019, and we know that Kids Help Phone’s service has become more essential than ever before, along with our goal to transform to meet the needs of young people in Canada. For 30 years, Kids Help Phone has shown up for youth in distress. Watch the new video here.

As part of our strategic objective of maximizing access, we’re committed now, more than ever, to ensuring every young person in Canada has equitable access to Kids Help Phone’s services. Finding Hope: Kids Help Phone’s Action Plan for Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young People, a plan led by our Indigenous Advisory Council, is one way we’ll achieve our goal of reaching 3.5 million youth engagements by 2021.

Fulfilling our promise

The challenges facing young people in Canada have grown more complex – and so has their need for access to the supports that are most relevant to them. To achieve our vision, it is critical that we meet this challenge – and quickly.

Our vision: A future where every young person in Canada will access the support they need, in the way they need it most.

Our mission: We are always open, providing a safe and trusted place for young people in any moment of crisis or need.

Learn more about our values and strategic objectives. 

Demonstrating trustworthiness

Kids Help Phone has been accredited since 2013 by Imagine Canada’s Standards Program for excellence in the charitable sector in five key areas:

  • financial accountability and transparency
  • fundraising
  • staff management
  • volunteer involvement
  • board governance

 

The Standards Program Trustmark is a mark of Imagine Canada used under licence by Kids Help Phone

Our service

Whether by phone, text or through our website, Kids Help Phone is always open for young people in any moment of crisis or need.

Young people can connect with us whenever they want, however they want. Read more about the services we offer below!

The Peer-to-Peer Community is a collection of online support forums. In the community, youth can anonymously share their personal experiences, offer inspiration and ask questions to connect, comfort and cheer each other on. Learn more.

Our phone service is available 24/7 to young people in Canada. A young person can dial 1-800-668-6868 in any moment of crisis or need to speak with a Kids Help Phone counsellor.

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone launched nationally in 2018!

By texting CONNECT to 686868, youth across Canada will be able to connect with a trained, volunteer Crisis Responder. Young people don’t need a data plan, Internet connection or app to access the service. All conversations between young people and volunteer Crisis Responders are confidential.

Our 24/7 texting service is confidential. Due to the nature of texting technology, connecting with a volunteer Crisis Responder is not anonymous. Only Kids Help Phone’s phone and Live Chat services are both anonymous and confidential. In keeping with Kids Help Phone’s strict policies, all communication between a volunteer Crisis Responder and a young person is confidential, unless it’s necessary to contact emergency services, at which point only a paid, professional texting Supervisor can locate a young person’s information

Sometimes, it’s easier to share what’s on your mind in writing. Our Live Chat service lets youth connect online with a professional counsellor in real time in English or French. Live Chat is open daily from 7 p.m. to midnight ET. It’s anonymous and confidential. (To find out more about what that means, check out our online chat service’s privacy policy.)

How does Live Chat counselling work for a young person?

  1. Choose the “Tap to Chat” button on your screen (you’ll see it during Live Chat’s daily open hours). You’ll be asked to fill out a short survey, and then you’ll be entered into a lineup to wait for a counsellor.
  2. A pop-up window will let you know where you’re in the lineup. You may have to wait for a counsellor to join the chat. The average wait time to connect with a counsellor is about 30 minutes. You may find it beneficial to use this time to think about what’s important to talk about with the counsellor.
  3. If you’re using a computer, it’s OK to open other web pages while you wait, but don’t forget to check the chat window from time to time. If you’re using a mobile phone, please avoid navigating away from the chat window — doing so will end your chat session.
  4. When it’s your turn to chat, you’ll see a message from a counsellor in the chat window. Please respond to the counsellor within one minute to keep your session active. An average chat session is about 45 minutes, but it’s important to go at your own pace.
  5. Please note that we’ll be accepting new chats until 11:15 p.m. ET only, in order to ensure that all conversations are responded to by midnight. We’re hopeful to respond to you if you’re in the queue by 11:15 p.m. ET.

Kids Help Phone’s Always There app is currently paused so we can improve our e-mental health support services for young people across Canada. Youth can still access Live Chat counselling on Kids Help Phone’s website through a web browser, or check out one of our other support services.

Resources Around Me allows youth to independently search for resources in their community including counselling and mental health support, sexual health support, housing support, legal support, job help and more.

There are over 10,000 services listed here and over time we’ll continue to expand the database. If a resource or service cannot be found, we encourage youth to call or chat with a Kids Help Phone counsellor — our counsellors have access to an even larger database to help.

Find a youth program near you

Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline providing professional counselling, information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia, 24/7/365.

A partnership between four organizations — ConnexOntario, Kids Help Phone, Ontario 211 and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health — Good2Talk was created in response to the need for increased mental health services and supports for Ontario’s growing post-secondary student population. Good2Talk is funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as a three-year pilot, and is designed to complement the existing range of on- and off-campus services available to college and university students in the province. Students can reach Good2Talk by calling 1-866-925-5454, or by dialing 2-1-1, from anywhere in Ontario.