Support For Local Young People In Need
Youthline has been providing youth development and support services to young people throughout New Zealand for 49 years. A charitable organisation supported by a dedicated group of volunteers, Youthline also operates a 24/7 helpline offering vital support for young people in need. The importance of Youthline’s work was recognised by the voting public in this year’s Million Dollar Mission. The $10,000 of funding means that more young people in West Auckland will be able to access help at the time they need it most.
‘Nowadays digital platforms are the key means of connecting with young people,’ advises Youthline’s Briana Hill. The helpline service is therefore available via phone, text, online chat or email. This means the young person can choose the platform that suits them the best.
The young person is responded to by one of 250 specially trained volunteer counsellors who work from 10 hubs located across the country. Counsellors can put the young person in touch with local support agencies so that they receive the help they need. Often though, it’s simply the friendly listening ear and the opportunity to talk and be heard that is making the difference for young people.
Briana explains, ‘A long-term client recently told us that checking in with our service helps them to work through their problems when feeling that they need to talk with someone. She put this down to the friendliness of our counsellors in talking through her experiences.’
Youthline’s free crisis helpline is certainly meeting a big need in the community. Briana advises that last year alone the service received over 142,000 texts, calls, emails and webchats from young people needing help. An estimated 7,808 were from West Auckland which means that close to 1 in 5 local youngsters contacted the helpline for support.
Issues faced by the young person are wide and varied. ‘A young person in intermediate school contacted us after having an argument with a friend while playing sports,’ says Briana.
‘We checked in around help for him at school and ways that he can find support at home through family and activities for self-care. The young person thanked us for giving youngsters like him this space and indicated he would call us again in future.’
And another caller in high school contacted the helpline after seeing his friend posting about wanting to give up on social media. The caller wanted to reach out to his friend but was unsure what to say.
‘Our counsellor helped him to draft a message to reach out and check the friend was OK,’ reports Briana.
‘They talked through what sort of things to say and where both young people could find further support. The young person then disclosed that he had been in a similar place to his friend before and we affirmed the importance of reaching out for support.’
Briana says that the Million Dollar Mission has made a significant difference in supporting young people in West Auckland.
‘The Youthline helpline costs $1.50 per minute to operate. The Million Dollar Mission’s support has allowed us to fund the helpline for 111 hours, so that is 111 hours that the helpline is available to young people in the area.
‘It makes a huge difference to us to receive this sort of support for local young people out West and we’re really grateful to everyone who got behind us.’