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More Canterbury children seek help

More Canterbury children seek help

2 April 2014

The number of Canterbury children seeking help from the 0800 What’s Up children’s helpline has increased considerably over the past couple of years. The service has seen a continuing increase in calls from the Canterbury region since the earthquakes.

0800 What’s Up Manager Rhonda Morrison says the comments made by a South Canterbury counsellor that South Canterbury children as young as 8 are seeking help for suicidal thoughts are matched by her service’s experience. Many children and young people call 0800 What’s Up about mental health issues including suicide and self-harm. Over the last 6 months, approximately 6% of counselling calls to What’s Up were about suicide, self-harm or mental health.

Almost 20 per cent of the helpline’s calls come from the Canterbury region. Between 2011 and 2012 landline calls increased by 34%. The enduring impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on the regions children is no doubt contributing to that.

The average age of the callers is 13, but we provide help to children as young as 5. 0800 What’s Up statistics have revealed four top problems concerning our callers which provides an indication of the key challenges faced by children and young people in New Zealand today:

• Relationships with peers
• Bullying
• Relationships with others
• Development, pregnancy, sexual health

“0800 What’s Up has trained counsellors available to help answer calls between 1pm and 11pm every day of the year.

“Our counsellors empower children to understand who they can trust in their own family or community – the people who will help them resolve their concerns or issues.

“It’s important to know that if you are worried about anything you are not alone –children and young people are welcome to call What’s Up about anything at all, no problem is too big or too small,” Rhonda Morrison says.

About 0800 What’s Up
0800 What's Up is a free, national phone counselling service for five to 18 year olds. It’s open 365 days a year from 1pm-11pm, and in an average year answers more than 100,000 calls – in fact, it’s the most accessed professional telephone counselling service for children and young people in New Zealand. More than 95% of the helpline’s funding comes through the generosity of New Zealanders who want to make a difference to children’s lives. To support 0800 What’s Up, visit


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