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0800WHATSUP data reveals children’s concerns

Media release

29 February 2008

Out of the mouths of children – 0800WHATSUP data reveals children’s concerns

Problems with friends and peers, bullying, problems at home, loneliness, coping at school, health, self-esteem, relationship breakups, abuse and harassment – these are some of the concerns children talk about when they call 0800WHATSUP. Last year 122,681 calls were answered by telephone counsellors at 0800WHATSUP. Concerns about friends and peers continued to be the major reason children and young people called 0800WHATSUP (one in five calls), with bullying a close second.

Although the identities of the callers remain anonymous and personal details confidential, their ages, gender, reasons for calling and other non-identifying information about their lives and circumstances are documented in the telephone counselling service’s extensive database. We’re talking about information from hundreds of thousands of calls answered since 0800WHATSUP was launched six and a half years ago,” said Grant Taylor, Executive Director of 0800WHATSUP, the free telephone counselling service for five to 18 year olds. “What our data reveals is the breadth of concerns the children who call the freephone face,” said Grant. “It also reflects the willingness of children and young people to seek help, advice and support in dealing with their concerns.”

“Our telephone counsellors provide support for callers, give advice but more significantly help them build on their strengths and learn techniques to help them resolve the issues they face now and may face in the future.” They are also trained to handle crisis calls when the need arises. Last year, 56 crisis calls resulted in the immediate involvement of an appropriate service to ensure the safety of the caller and others.

Grant says “the 0800WHATSUP database is proving an invaluable resource for decision makers, agencies and individuals wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of our young.”


Dancing with the Stars: Peter Urlich, GeorgeFM host and former front man of Th’Dudes, is championing the cause of 0800WHATSUP in his participation of the 2008 season of Dancing with the Stars on TV1.

Some facts about 0800WHATSUP: 0800WHATSUP gets an average of 1,500 calls every day 0800WHATSUP is open seven days a week from noon to midnight 0800WHATSUP employs specially trained, paid and closely supervised professional counsellors to answer the phones Many calls to 0800WHATSUP go unanswered every day because of financial restrictions 0800WHATSUP relies primarily on donations and sponsorship for its funding The key principles of counselling at 0800WHATSUP are child-centred practice, empowerment and confidentiality Almost as many boys as girls talk to 0800WHATSUP 0800WHATSUP accepts calls from anyone aged between 5 and 18. 43% of callers are aged 12 or younger and 87% are aged 15 or younger.

0800WHATSUP can be dialled from any telephone, including mobiles, anywhere in NZ at no charge to the caller 0800WHATSUP is run by The Kids Help Foundation Trust, a registered charitable trust. It is approved as a service provider under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989. Since it started in September 2001, 0800WHATSUP counsellors have answered more than 837,000 calls.

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