Loading articles...

Kids Help Phone seeing increased demand during pandemic

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 12:50 pm MST

In this Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, photo, a man uses a cell phone in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

TORONTO (660 NEWS) — Children who are at home away from school or young adults not working during the COVID-19 pandemic may be experiencing some issues during the situation, and also have a lot of questions.

As the situation has disrupted their lives, Kids Help Phone is letting Canadians know there is assistance available.

“Words they’re saying are scared, I’m afraid, virus — what does that mean? Worried about their family, worried about their friends,” said President and CEO Katherine Hay. “They’re at the start end of an isolation period, that’s kind of scary for them. They don’t know what next week will look like for them.”

Hay said these are all normal feelings and parents can help right off the bat by validating them and saying there is nothing to be ashamed about.

This has resulted in an immediate increase in demand for the service.

“Doubling overnight in contacts out to Kids Help phone in the last 24 to 48 hours,” said Hay. “More than 350 per cent increase in people calling us or contacting us about COVID or coronavirus.”

Callers are coming from various ages, ranging all the way from 5 to 28-years-old. Volunteers have also answered the call for more assistance, with some handling text messages as well.

“Canada is mobilizing behind Kids Help Phone,” Hay added. “We have more crisis responders on our platforms. Our counsellors are going remote and doing a great job. The volunteer reach out right now is extraordinary, in the last 24 hours we’ve had over 160 people reach out to us to say they want to help. That is amazing.”

Parents should also monitor the type of information their children are taking in and make sure they aren’t isolating themselves too much within the home.

Hay wanted to make it clear that no matter how much help is needed, they will be there.

“We are still here 24/7 for young people in Canada. We have not closed our lines. We will not close our lines.”

You can reach Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or also reach them online for live chat services.