Over the past several years Crisis lines across have begun to add online components to their crisis services. Based on conversations with people involved and research I have read — after years of successfully running crisis lines a pattern emerged of a significant drop in phone calls from the under 25s.
As Robin Shantz noted in a 2006 article “We knew the problems youth are facing weren’t going away. And it’s not like youth don’t have access to phones…”. What became apparent is that youth’s help-seeking behaviour had changed. They wanted to be able to access crisis services online. As one messaging software company put it “…Increasingly people are not using the phone to seek help. Instead they turn to the tools they use elsewhere in their daily life: websites, live chat and text messaging”.
And so crisis lines across Canada have been responding to those requests. Offering more options for people to connect with trained volunteers and/or staff – live chat, email counselling and forum discussions. Edmonton’s Crisis Support Centre says “We created online crisis chat because we wanted to make sure that people could get in-touch with us through whatever means they were most comfortable with.”
Perhaps the most widely used is the Live Chat. Similar to telephone counselling crisis chat is immediate and done in real time [depending, of course, on the hours of service].
YouthinBC was one of the first systems to come online in Canada.
Have a look at these services…
Your life counts http://youth.yourlifecounts.org/#
This is by no means an exhaustive list! I wanted to do a brief introduction to the world of Online Crisis Chats. I will be talking more next time about the research that has and is being conducted on the use and effectiveness of these types of services.
If you have any thoughts, questions or curiosities about this topic – please share.
All opinions expressed in this blogpost are personal.
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA