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Lifeline Aotearoa investing in the mental health

Lifeline Aotearoa investing in the mental health of Canterbury’s children and young people

Lifeline Aotearoa is delighted to announce an extension of its 0800 Kidsline service in to Christchurch in May 2016.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be developing this great service - one of only a few internationally - in Canterbury,” said Jo Denvir, Lifeline’s Chief Executive.

“Christchurch children and young people need and deserve investment and support in the mental health and well-being space,” said Ms Denvir.

0800 Kidsline is a not-for-profit counselling and support service currently operating out of a single call centre in Auckland. Young people can ring in and talk about anything at all and calls cover a number of issues including school issues, friendships and relationships, bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts.

"Additional capacity means the service will be better placed to answer the thousands of calls we receive each year from 5 to 18 year olds from across New Zealand. It also means we can expand our existing service to cover emails and online access which are important ways of communicating for young people,” said Ms Denvir.

The service operates 24/7 but between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays it becomes a 'near peer' service, making it very unique globally. Near peer means that the calls are answered by ‘buddies’ who are Year 12 and 13 students trained and extensively supervised to work in this area.

There are also extra benefits in having a second centre in Christchurch.

“We have been looking at Christchurch to be the place where we opened a second call centre for a long time. We wanted to send a strong message to communities across New Zealand about how important mental health and well being is for children and young people, especially in a Christchurch where children and young people are continuing to experience traumatic events,” said Kidsline Expansion Manager, Carolyn Gibbs.

Additionally, a two year ‘Buddy’ Youth Development Programme will be extended to youth in Canterbury; and for the first time will have NCEA credits attached to it as part of the NZ Certificate in Youth Work (Level 3).

"This is a great pathway for young people wanting to gain some real work experience in the counselling, youth work or social services space,” said Ms Gibbs. “The training and experience these students receive will not only benefit the Kidsline callers, but also the communities in which they live, play and study. We equip them with the skills, develop their empathy and grow their empowerment to enable them to positively impact the wellbeing of anyone they come into contact with.”

“We are lucky to have Christchurch based Careerforce working with us to establish relationships with high schools in Christchurch to grow our first wave of Kidsline Buddies,” says Ms Gibbs.

Thirty places are initially available and a second recruitment wave is likely to take place towards the end of this year to support the 70 strong Buddy volunteer pool required.

ENDS

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