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Youthline another step closer to 24/7 coverage

Media Release

Youthline another step closer to 24/7 coverage

New Zealand's national youth counselling organisation, Youthline, is a step closer to 24-hour telephone counselling following the installation of new technology. Youthline will increase its telephone counselling service to 16 hours a day across much of the North Island by November. The coverage area includes Auckland and a large part of the central North Island from Poverty Bay to North Waikato.

Youthline has also begun recruiting an extra 1000 volunteers across New Zealand to help meet demand for its counselling services.

Youthline director Stephen Bell says the organisation's goal is to have every branch linked to the technology and providing 24-hour coverage by this time next year.

One region, Hawkes Bay, already has a round-the-clock phone counselling service. Rollout of the rest of New Zealand to 24 hours will be staged and complete coverage will not be possible until Youthline has employed six full time staff to act as support to the volunteers.

Mr Bell says the step forward was only made possible through a $660,000 grant from GlaxoSmithKline earlier this year.

A number of other organisations and Government departments have also contributed funds to the 24/7 project.

Youthline's relationship with GSK began in 1996 when GlaxoSmithKline helped establish and promote Youthline's 0800 number.

Funding from the GlaxoSmithKline grant will also help Youthline in developing a number of youth education and advisory initiatives and gaining NZQA accreditation for its programmes.

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About Youthline Youthline's first point of contact is through its Youth Help Line, which covers the main regions in New Zealand including Hawkes Bay, Manukau, Auckland, North Shore, Waitakere, Palmerston North, Wellington, Central South Island, Otago and Southland Regions. Between them these regions receive an average of 24,000 calls a year.

Youthline was established in 1970 as a response to young people not using the existing health and social services. Today Youthline services include face-to-face counselling, personal development, youth work and leadership programmes with over 500 skilled volunteer counsellors.

Youthline is funded through member contributions, venue management and fundraising, government contracts for specialist youth services, donations, grants and corporate sponsorship. In the last financial year Youthline has continued to meet demand and far exceed predictions or budgets, particularly with counselling services and the pregnancy centre.

* For individual counselling sessions the goal for July was 91 the actual total was 177, for counselling sessions in clients aged under 25 the goal for July was 46, the actual number was 108.

* Youthline's crisis pregnancy counselling centre had a goal of 112 new clients each year, which equates to 9.33 clients each month. However, the total new clients for July were 19. The goal for client hours was 22.5; the time actually spent in July was 48.5 hours.

About GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand is part of one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, providing innovative medicines in several therapeutic areas including asthma, diabetes and immunisation.

In addition to its sponsorship of Youthline GSK NZ also supports the community in New Zealand through its support for medical events, and a number of educational and research sponsorships in Maori and Pacific Health, Nursing and Respiratory medicine.

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