There are a lot of children in distress and Kids Helpline has been overwhelmed by the demand for its services, leaving it with no option but to leave thousands of calls unanswered. It needs more funding.
Kids Helpline, Australia’s only free confidential 24/7 national children’s counselling and support service, says 51% of requests for help to the service went unanswered over the first six months of 2019, due to funding shortfall.
The number of attempts to contact Kids Helpline increased from 146,292 to 148,776 over the past six months, with visits to the website increasing from 552,103 to 875,280 – up 59% over the same six month period to 30th June 2019.
“A quarter of all counselling sessions now have to do with mental health concerns and one in ten are a young person presenting with an undiagnosed mental illness,” said yourtown Chief Executive Officer Tracy Adams.
Responding to concerns children and young people have in relation to their mental health and well-being is a major area of Kids Helpline’s work, along with responding to concerns about identity and self-concept, school and education, and health and development issues. Kids Helpline supports and protects children and young people (5-25) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Adams said Kids Helpline requires an additional $5 million annually which would enable the employment of additional professional counselling staff in order to meet the demand. “We want young people to get the very best service they can, particularly with the issues they are contacting us about.
She stated for some people, connecting with Kids Helpline has been a life-saving experience, while for others it’s about practical help and support at the critical moment they need someone to listen. Whether they require one-off or ongoing support, children and young people can seek help from Kids Helpline before things escalate and become much bigger issues. For many children and young people, Kids Helpline is their only source of support.
Kids Helpline relies heavily upon yourtown’s charitable art union and donations from the community to continue its operation. Currently Kids Helpline is 69% self-funded by yourtown art union, donors and grants.