University of Guelph students to pilot new crisis text line

Guelph, ON (Aug. 27, 2018) – University of Guelph students now have access to a new Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone that will offer mental health support when they need it. This free service will offer immediate support to all U of G students by text message with a Kids Help Phone volunteer Crisis Responder.

“University can create a lot of pressure for students, and we’re delighted to offer another source of support to them,” says Alison Burnett, Director of Student Wellness at the University of Guelph. “We want our students to know that it’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to ask for help. And this text service is available whenever they need it.”

The University of Guelph was selected as the first university to pilot the new Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, which offers free, 24/7 texting support, providing students greater access to confidential crisis resolution. The Co-operators has played an active role in this partnership.

“We’re proud to be a founding partner of this important service, which gives young people much-needed access to mental health services in the way they most commonly prefer to connect,” says Barbara Turley-McIntyre, Vice President, Sustainability and Citizenship at The Co-operators. “Promoting mental wellbeing and destigmatizing mental illness, especially among youth, is an important part of our commitment to build healthier, more sustainable Canadian communities.”

To access the new text service, students just text “UofG” to 686868 using their text or SMS-enabled device. The service does not require a data plan or internet connection.

All texts are directed to Kids Help Phone’s trained volunteer Crisis Responders, who will respond to the messages. Kids Help Phone’s professional texting supervisors are also available to provide real-time coaching to the volunteers, and to manage escalated situations should an active rescue be required.

Why text-based support? Kids Help Phone research identified that:

  • 42% of youth prefer to write rather than speak about their problems,
  • 71% of youth welcome a texting option when discussing their problems, and
  • Non-verbal platforms (e.g., live chats) are more likely to uncover serious, high-risk mental health concerns.

The new texting service began as a pilot in Manitoba and has since expanded to various provinces and territories in the lead up to the service’s national launch later in the year.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national service offering professional counselling, information, referrals and volunteer-led text-based support (available nationwide by the end of 2018) for young people. Kids Help Phone’s free, anonymous services are available in both English and French. Kids Help Phone is a registered Canadian charity, and we raise the majority of our revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising.

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE: The Co-operators

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