Supporting Young People with Mental Health Needs Through Kids Help Phone Enables Better Self Management

By Ellie Yu

Over the past few years, Infoway has been investing in the expansion of Kids Help Phone services to young people in Canada. Kids Help Phone is the only 24/7, national support service in Canada that offers professional counselling, information and referrals, and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French. A young person who needs mental health support can reach Kids Help Phone by phone, text, mobile app or through a website, whenever they want, however they want.

Young man on phone

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone is now available across the country and has had more than 130,000 texting conversations and served more than 64,000 unique Canadians since last November. Kids Help Phone has also initiated active rescues as a form of escalated in-person response to aid young people who may be harmed or may cause harm to themselves. To date, Kids Help Phone has conducted more than six active rescues per day across the country.

A recent analysis on Kids Help Phone’s text-based service user survey results from a recent six-month period (November 2018 to April 2019) has highlighted the impressive results Kids Help Phone generated for young Canadians and the health system in general.

Demographic of Kids Help Phone Users

From November 2018 to April 2019, Kids Help Phone had almost 35,000 unique users/texters, more than 5,000 survey responses (eight per cent response rate), and more than 60,000 conversations. To learn more about who Kids Help Phone is serving, we investigated the age and gender profiles of survey respondents. Below is a high-level overview:

  • ~76 per cent of survey respondents are below the age of 24
  • ~50 per cent of survey respondents are below the age of 18
  • ~77 per cent of survey respondents are female 1
  • ~15 per cent identified as male
  • ~6 per cent identified as non-cis gender 2

What respondents think about Kids Help Phone service

To better understand what Kids Help Phone users thought about the service they received, we investigated the questions related to these sentiments. Young people in Canada were highly positive about their experience; here are some highlights from what users reported:

  • 95 per cent agree that the service was easy to use
  • 79 per cent were satisfied with the service
  • 54 per cent agree that they are now confident to cope with their situation

To better understand the value Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone provided for its users, we also asked what young people would have done if the service was not available:

  • 54 per cent said they would not seek help
  • Six per cent said they would have visited the emergency room
  • Four per cent said they would have visited a health care provider
  • One per cent said they would have attempted suicide
  • One per cent said they would have engaged in self-harm behaviours

These survey results confirm that Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone contributes to client satisfaction, better self-management and an improved quality of life for users — and provides support to young people when and where they need it 24/7.

This post is the first of a two-part series about Kids Help Phone — the second part will focus on the impact Kids Help Phone services have on the health system.

[1] Gender percentages was calculated excluding those who did not answer this question from the base.
[2] The group of non-cis gender includes: Agender, Non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, questioning, trans female, trans male and two-spirit.


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About the author
Ellie Yu

Ellie Yu

Ellie Yu is a Performance Analyst with Canada Health Infoway where she drives business decisions using data analytics and business intelligence to demonstrate the adoption and benefits of investments in digital health. She holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy from McMaster University.