Helping Canda's Youth, One Click at a Time

by emaso1 on April 25, 2014 - 12:10pm

Children and adolescents experience a multitude of issues due to an increasingly modern society and a change in the family structure, among other things.  The problems these children are facing, cannot and should not be faced alone. In an article written by Catherine Fournier on Newsactivist, she explains that Canada is helping combat this issue by establishing a free, online or phone counseling services for Canada’s youth. An organization called “Kids Help Phone”, allows individuals to contact professional counselors, day or night, 365 days a year. These counselors provide support and advice for all sorts of problems, no matter how big or how small the problem is.

            According to the “Kids Help Phone” website, the mission of the organization is to improve the overall well being of children in Canada. The organization seeks to promote this idea by providing anonymous, confidential, professional support by counselors at anytime of the day or night. The organization implements supportive techniques in both English and in French, as well as different means of communication such as via the Internet or over the phone. The overall goal of the organization is to provide support to youth and in turn the youth will feel more comfortable disclosing other problems they are facing and get help for those issues. Ultimately, they want the children receiving the services they are providing to have a successful and happy life, using the tools that were given to them by the organization. Change can be achieved through constant support in a non-judgmental way. The website http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en has been accessed 54 million times by Canada’s youth. In addition, youth have contacted counseling professions 5,000 times.

            The intended benefit or results of the activities planned by the organization is to end the silence that children feel they have to obey when they do not report abuse or mistreatment, as well as to raise awareness that children are experiencing real issues and these children need help and support dealing with the issues they face everyday. The activities the organization participates in and even run include annual 5K walks that send the message of ending the stigma associated with seeking help for and being diagnosed with mental health issues. The walks are also a strategy to raise money to support the counseling services. The website stated that they raised more than $2 million during the “Walk so Kids Can Talk” campaign. The organization presents at various venues to raise awareness of child abuse what their mission can to do help children at need.

            “Kids Help Phone” obtains financial support through predominantly community fundraising events. They also receive revenue from foundations and associations, corporate giving, government project based funding, individual giving, and other sources as well (http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en). The website also indicates that there are 75 full- and part-time counselors who are employed by the organization. There are also an abundance of unpaid volunteers, a board of directors, and a management team. All members seek to live out the mission of “Kids Help Phone”.

            Overall, their message seems to be an important one. The organization wants to raise awareness of child abuse and erase the stigma of obtaining and being diagnosed with a mental illness. It also wants to provide support to any child, adolescent or young adult who needs someone to listen to their problems and to receive advice. As a change consultant, the organization could fundamentally rethink what they do. Their main assumption is less likely to produce the desired outcomes, particularly the long-term goals.

            Presently, the organization is fighting a societal problem by helping the individual. This approach does not necessarily work well. Emile Durkheim would argue that social currents influence individual behavior. Social currents are dictated by society and through this dictation, influence how people think and feel. Social currents are crystalized and somehow institutionalized. In this case, there is something going on in society that is causing these children to feel a certain way, whether positive or negative. Durkheim uses the example of suicide to demonstrate the societal effects on the individual. He contends that certain aspects of society cause different types of reasons for individuals contemplating suicide. Whether the thought of suicide comes from a society that does not value individualism or values too much individualism or if the society is too restrained or too unconstrained, society definitely plays a role in an individual making the decision to commit suicide.

           There are many pressures on parents, teachers, and other adult figures that are supposed to provide support and guidance for children that are unable to because they are dealing with these social currents. These social currents may include having to balance a work-family relationship or in a teacher’s case, a change in the curriculum. The social currents previously mentioned are similar to the social currents individuals feel if they are contemplating suicide, according to Durkheim. This is when Kids Help Phone comes into play; it becomes a secondary source of support for children who would not otherwise get it. In this way, Kids Help Phone is fighting the societal problem of pressures that primary sources of support face by providing secondary support to the individuals in that society who are greatly affected by the lack of support from a primary source. The problem still exists and it is not being fixed. The problem is being dealt with once it has already occurred. If the problem can be tackled before it starts affecting the child, which would be a more beneficial approach.

            Kids Help Kids could potentially prevent the issue of children seeking secondary support by providing additional support for the parents and adults who remain in the lives of the children. Instead of providing professional counseling services to just children, they could think about providing counseling services to adults as well. Adults are facing all sorts of societal pressures and perhaps if they had someone to talk to, whom they trusted, they would be able to provide a more stable environment for their children to flourish in. Maybe they can team up with an organization that already provides mental health services for adults and develop some sort of partnership. The organization could even provide or implement life skills or parenting classes for children and adults to participate in together. To help change a child’s life, they need to be able to enforce a change in the child’s environment as well, especially if long-term happiness and success is what the organization is striving for. A short-term suggestion, even before helping the adults through their tough times, could be giving some sort of services to the adults in training them how to deal and support their children better. Perhaps before dealing with the problems that are being faced by adults, Kids Help Phone could provide classes to the adults that would instruct them on how to deal with bullying, relationship problems, or academic problems that Canadian’s youth face everyday.

            Even this idea is addressing the problem, at a sort of individual level, rather than trying to change society. It is a step though, however. Kids Help Phone seeks to provide counseling and support services for Canada’s youth to make sure those children can lead happier and healthier lives. If Kids Help Phone allowed adults to call their hotline and talk to professionals, it would make the environments the children have to deal with on a daily basis more conducive to the organization’s mission statement.

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Kids Help Phone is a free, anonymous and confidential phone and on-line professional counseling service for youth. Big or small concerns. 24/7. 365 days a year. Read more. (n.d.). Kids Help Phone Org. Retrieved from http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en.

Comments

Helping children come of age peacefully is an important matter. The moments we face in our lives while growing are what defines our future. Kids Help Phone is a great example of an organization who understand this problem and wishes to make a difference.
It is great to understand how much it is possible to change children’s lives and future by simply helping them overcome their problems. Changing society itself is much harder than changing an individual and I do understand how you say that changing individual life is a start for a larger change. I think your idea of educating adults and parents to help them deal with children who have problems is a great idea. Parents are able to guide their children much more easily than a random person on the end of a phone line.
However, I believe the problem is often to recognize that there is a problem in the first place. For a child seeking help, it is much easier to confess to a stranger than to your parents as there is no direct repercussions. On the other hand, parents can easily overlook that their children have problems if they are being kept in secret by the child. It becomes really hard to educate parents who need it because those who needs it the most might not know it.
A great example of parents’ blindness to their child’s situation comes from the multiple bullying possibilities offered by the internet. Since it is not directly happening, not everybody knows that a certain person bullies another. The concerns of this problem are clearly expressed by HealthDay on their article “Think You Know What Your Kid’s Up to Online? You Don’t” published on October 31, 2013.
Here is a link to the article:
http://www.ivillage.com/parents-dont-know-when-kids-are-bullied-online/6...

Kids help phone seem to be a really good organisation. Children can called there at any time they want and talk about what they want. I think that the most important thing is that they will never be judge for their problems. In your post you mentioned the aspect of social current. It is very interesting since the social influence coming from others is the major problem that children are facing every day. I am actually doing a research paper on child abuse and I think that this organisation can help them and provide them information about what they can do to put an end to it.

I was really pleased to see that you took my article to write your analysis of a social problem! You really understood the problem and the program that provides the Kids Help Phone. It was well explained in your article and was very detailed. It was really interesting to read your analysis of the problem, it made me see the problem in a different way. Your explanation of how they seemed to be dealing with the problem instead of fighting the problem before it touches was quite interesting and I learned new ways to approach this problem. Also, your example with suicide really illustrated your idea, which made it easy for the reader to understand. I completely agree with you that parents and adults should receive help and instructions on how to deal with youth related problems. On the "Canadian Paediatric Society" website, there is a link to a special web page called "Caring for Kids" where they have informations for parents on different problems concerning youth in order to help them deal with the problems at home. Here is the link if you want to look at the kind of instructions they give to parents : http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca

Unfortunately, a great number of both teens and children are exposed to a great amount of stresses that sometimes their parents can simply not qualm. It is in that respect that I applaud the efforts of Kids Help Phone in trying to provide a secondary support system, through which both teens and children can seek out comfort and advice, anonymously. It may not seem like a lot, but a simple conversation can a change a person’s entire outlook and can, in some cases, be the last checkpoint between happiness and outright misery.

Durkheim’s social current concept is one that is quite intriguing and, from a sociological point of view, also manages to fit perfectly within the issue of parents not being able to spend enough time attending to their children’s needs. The reference to Durkheim adds an understanding to the plight of parenting and helps bring about a supporting argument for organizations like Kids Help Phone, who do their part by providing a secondary source of advice and comfort to both teens and children.

In an article written on May 4, 2014 by Vincent Ball of the Brantford Expositor, titled “BMO Employees walk for Kids Help Phone”, the second annual “Walk so Kids Can Talk” event is discussed. In the article, it is written that nearly $5,000 was raised during the walk in order to aid Kids Help Phone in their continued effort to providing the best advice to their callers and, of course, to help them find the support that they unfortunately lack in their lives.

Link to article: http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2014/05/04/bmo-employees-walk-for-kids-...

Hey, first of all, I am so happy that you chose this organization, because I think that the Kids Help Phone has been silently omnipresent in every canadian child's life. I remember that there were always posters at school, the phone number was always in our agenda, there was always some kind of reminder that the Kids Help Phone existed, even though we didn't always notice it. Although you are right when saying that this help line is targeting individuals instead of all children, I would disagree with you on it's efficacy. I think that the Kids Help Phone is very effective in what it does because not everyone needs it, and more importantly, you cannot help all the youth who have issues at the same time. As I said before, it is everywhere, although it is not aggressively advertised, most kids in Canada know what it is and what it is used for. Furthermore, the idea that it is anonymous is the real key to solving the problem. Not many children want to talk to their parents about being bullied, nor would they tell their siblings, and telling your teacher or the school about it has almost become a joke. Where I come from, schools are the worst resource for bullying issued because they have limited powers. Most times, the school will tell the bully off, but they stop there to avoid problems with the bully's parents, or to avoid too much paperwork, as crazy as this sounds, it is true. From personal experience, telling the school, or my parents, did not lead to much help. Retrospectively, the best thing that could have existed back then, did. Talking about the bully to someone you don't know is the best solution, in my opinion, because you fear no retribution, and you are not afraid that your friends or family will find out. Everything I said in this comment is based on personal experience, and not actual facts, so I may be wrong, but that is my opinion nonetheless.

This real story from a mother is another example of how the Kids Help Phone really works: http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en/share-your-story

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