Crisis responders

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Kids Help Phone’s texting service is the only free, 24/7 bilingual text line for people in Canada. The service is delivered by trained, volunteer crisis responders who work remotely (from anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection). Crisis responders reply to texts from people looking for support, helping them identify how they’re feeling, discuss different coping strategies and if required, collaboratively set up a safety plan.

We’re currently recruiting volunteers from across Canada to become crisis responders. All applicants are welcome. However, our admissions team will prioritize applicants who:

  • are interested in volunteering during our overnight period (11 p.m. – 7 a.m. ET) or;
  • are fluently bilingual (in written French and English) or;
  • identify as First Nations, Métis​ or Inuit through our Finding Hope program; or
  • identify as African, Caribbean, Black or a part of the Afro-diaspora through our RiseUp program


Role requirements

What are the requirements for becoming a crisis responder?

  • obtain a criminal record check with results that are satisfactory to Kids Help Phone
  • be at least the age of majority in your jurisdiction of residence
  • have access to a confidential computer (i.e. password protected) and secure and reliable internet connection during all of your shifts
  • commit to volunteering four hours a week for at least one year
  • sign our Crisis Responder Agreement
  • complete and pass a 36-hour training program
  • read and understand the Kids Help Phone Volunteer Privacy Policy

Make a difference by volunteering for this role!

Becoming a crisis responder FAQ

Our volunteers need to be enthusiastic about helping people! You can be a professional, student, teacher, retiree or anybody else with an internet connection and a willingness to learn how to support people over text.

The role of a crisis responder is to bring texters from a “hot” moment to a cool calm, and to help them come up with a plan to stay healthy and safe. Crisis responders are trained to do this using active listening and collaborative problem-solving.

No. Kids Help Phone offers professional counselling services to young people over the phone and through our online live chat. The texting service differs from our phone and live chat service in that it is a volunteer-based service (and you don’t have to be a professional counsellor to volunteer). Instead of offering a clinical counselling service, volunteers will take texters through a five-stage structured conversation designed to bring each texter from a hot moment to a cool calm.

All of our crisis responders go through 36 hours of rigorous online training. We do everything possible to make sure you log onto your first shift feeling confident and prepared. You’ll also be able to interact with your supervisor during your shifts, giving you plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get tips and feedback. In other words, you’ll never be alone on the platform, and if a situation becomes overwhelming, a professional will be right there to help.

Crisis responders must commit to volunteering four hours a week for at least one year. Since we put so much time and training into each volunteer, we ask for a commitment of four hours per week for at least one full year. The texting service is offered 24/7, so we have shifts available around the clock for volunteers.

Nope! Crisis responders see and respond to texts through our web-based online platform. In other words, young people text us using their phones and we see and reply to their texts online. Don’t worry if this still seems confusing – if you get to be a volunteer, we’ll explain more during training.

The platform is where all the action happens, and where we keep in touch with all our staff and crisis responders. It’s the online platform where crisis responders answer texts, and where supervisors monitor what’s going on during every shift.

As a crisis responder, you will be joining a community of volunteers from around Canada along with paid staff supervisors. Supervisors are there to help you with any conversations, support you in your role, and to make sure Kids Help Phone meets its legal duties regarding safety and reporting. You’ll learn more about these obligations in your training.

In order to do your job as a crisis responder, you need to make sure you have reliable, uninterrupted and secure internet access during all of your shifts and access to a computer in a confidential space. That means no shifts on the Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, internet café, public library or subway station. You must also ensure that passersby can’t read your screen while you’re on a shift. You’ll learn more about your privacy obligations in your training.

No. We take the anonymity of all our volunteers seriously. You will not be expected to give any information about yourself to texters and we will not provide texters with any way to connect with any crisis responder outside of the texting service.

As long as you have a secure internet connection, you can complete the training wherever it’s convenient for you! The training has a set start date but is completely online so you can work on it in your own time. It’s a mix of videos, reading, quizzes and assignments. It is a big time commitment at 36 hours, but you will learn a ton, including reflective listening, collaborative problem solving and crisis management. Once you have passed the training, you will be ready to sign up for a weekly shift and help offer the service with our great team of Supervisors there to support you every step of the way.

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Thanks to our growing community, Kids Help Phone offers free, 24/7 e-mental health services to young people in Canada. Your generosity helps ensure that someone is always there when support is needed for any issue, big or small.

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