BACKGROUND Kids Help Phone s Service Evaluations: Key Learnings

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1 BACKGROUND Kids Help Phone s Service Evaluations: Key Learnings Kids Help Phone s professional counselling is effective Kids Help Phone s phone and Live Chat counselling evaluations demonstrate that our counselling service leads to outcomes that indicate its effectiveness. For example, our phone evaluation showed that young people experience a reduction in distress and an increase in awareness of personal strengths and abilities. It also revealed that our phone counselling service helped young people to further develop their problem-solving skills. In addition, Kids Help Phone s Live Chat evaluation results demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in client distress, and increases in client clarity and confidence about how to cope with or change their situations. reductions in distress Both Kids Help Phone s phone and Live Chat counselling services are associated with statistically significant decreases in service users levels of distress. In other words, young people who spoke (or chatted online) with one of our professional counsellors reported feeling much less distressed after their counselling sessions. In particular, 87% of callers experienced a reduction in selfreported distress (averaging a reduction of 2.5 points on a seven-point scale). In addition, 75% of youth who contacted Kids Help Phone via Live Chat felt their distress reduced after chatting with a Kids Help Phone counsellor (averaging a reduction of more than 1.5 points on a seven-point scale). increases in clarity Kids Help Phone s phone and Live Chat services are associated with statistically significant increases in young people s clarity about how to cope with their issues or concerns. For the phone service, 73% of callers stated that they had a plan about how to respond to or deal with their problem after speaking with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor, and 68% of callers said their counsellors helped them become more aware of their personal strengths and abilities. Seventy-one percent of young people who used Live Chat to connect with a

2 counsellor also reported experiencing an increase in their clarity about how to move forward as a result of the counselling they received. increases in confidence Kids Help Phone s counselling boosts young people s confidence significantly. Sixty-six percent of youth who chatted online with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor report a statistically significant improvement in their feelings of confidence that they could cope with or change their situations (averaging an increase of 1.09 points on a seven-point scale). Kids Help Phone is reaching some of the most under-served and potentially vulnerable young people in Canada The phone counselling service evaluation found that 10% of callers self-identified as Aboriginal, which represents more than two times the representation of young people who are Aboriginal in the Canadian population. 1 Further, 8% of callers self-identified as Black, which is more than double the representation of young people who are Black in the Canadian population. In addition, 4% of young people calling self-identified as transgender and 16% self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning. This shows that our counselling service is being used by youth who may need and benefit from it the most, in high numbers. Kids Help Phone is an important part of the continuum of mental health services in Canada Kids Help Phone is clearly filling an important role in the continuum of mental health care in Canada. At 41%, a considerable number of Kids Help Phone callers stated they were currently seeing a mental health professional or had seen one in the past, while 11% stated they were on a waiting list for counselling or therapy indicating that Kids Help Phone fills a need for mental health care while kids are waiting to access other supports or between appointments. Of those who were currently accessing formal mental health supports, the number one reason they were calling Kids Help Phone was to receive support with a mental or emotional health struggle this was the case in both the phone and Live Chat evaluations. Among Live Chat clients particularly, there are high proportions of young people dealing with serious mental health concerns such as 1 Statistics Canada. (2006a). Aboriginal identity population by age groups, median age and sex, 2006 counts for both sexes, for Canada, provinces and territories 20% sample data [Data table]. Retrieved from &StartRec=1&Sort=2&Display=Page

3 suicide, eating disorders, or self-harm. These findings help us better understand how Kids Help Phone s counselling service complements and helps to address gaps in the formal youth mental health sector. Young people who reach out to Kids Help Phone via one counselling channel would not necessarily reach out in other ways In each of the evaluations, young people explained the ways in which phone and Live Chat counselling address their different preferences and concerns. Respondents were very clear about their preference for reaching out via one particular counselling channel or another. For example, many young people who telephoned Kids Help Phone stated that they prefer to talk about their problems rather than writing about them (34%), while many Live Chat users stated that they would rather write than speak about their problems (42%). Seventy-five percent of respondents in the Live Chat evaluation indicated they felt too nervous or uncomfortable to call the phone service, and 62% said they do not have enough privacy to speak on the phone. Kids Help Phone is meeting young people s expectations The vast majority of young people who called Kids Help Phone during the phone evaluation said they had their expectations met, with 91% of callers stating they received the support they had hoped for. In addition, 96% of callers stated they would call Kids Help Phone again if they needed help. In addition, 86% of young people in the Live Chat evaluation said they would recommend the service to a friend. Kids Help Phone is often the first point of intervention for young people Forty-three percent of callers stated that they had not spoken to anyone about their problem before calling Kids Help Phone. In addition, in analyzing young people's answers to open-ended questions included in the phone and Live Chat evaluations, we found that a number of young people contacted Kids Help Phone for reasons such as receiving an opinion about the severity of their concerns, exploring their options, and determining their next course of action based on what they themselves assessed was right for their situation. For example, when asked why they called Kids Help Phone instead of talking to someone else, a respondent to the 2012 phone evaluation stated that they " wanted advice on a situation. Other people said to call the police. I wasn't ready to take that step." Young people want confidential and anonymous services Young people using all of our counselling channels state that a primary reason they chose Kids Help Phone was that our service is anonymous and confidential.

4 In fact, 75% of young people who participated in the Live Chat evaluation and 21% of those who participated in the phone evaluation stated that they chose to contact Kids Help Phone rather than anyone else because anonymity is guaranteed. In addition, 9% of respondents to the phone evaluation listed confidentiality as one of their reasons for contacting Kids Help Phone rather than anyone else. Young people often come back to Kids Help Phone for counselling many times While Kids Help Phone provides single-session counselling, the service evaluations helped to highlight that young people often return to receive counselling for many different challenges over the course of their lives. While 39% of respondents in both evaluations had never contacted Kids Help Phone before, it was interesting that 50% of callers and 45% of Live Chat users stated that they had used Kids Help Phone s service between two and ten times before. Live Chat is more accessible for young people who lack privacy Kids Help Phone s Live Chat service meets a need for young people who do not have the privacy to contact us by phone. In fact, 62% of respondents to the Live Chat pilot evaluation stated that they do not have the privacy they need to use the phone. One user went on to state, This service is excellent and it is a lot safer than calling because when you do this you wont get caught but you might when you call, while another added, I can't talk on the phone, and I have no trusted adults or relatives. Boys are less likely to reach out to Kids Help Phone than girls Both evaluations proved what we have long understood about the demographic reach of our service in terms of gender that Kids Help Phone s professional counselling is accessed much more frequently by females than by males. For example, more girls (73% of callers) than boys (23% of callers) reach out to Kids Help Phone s phone service. This is consistent with other mental health services and not a distinguishing factor of Kids Help Phone. Live Chat has tremendous potential to help those with serious mental health concerns Live Chat users frequently reported that the reasons they were contacting Kids Help Phone were related to mental health issues that put them at risk of serious harm. In fact, 41% of youth who chatted with a counsellor stated that they were looking for help with a mental/emotional health issue, while 18% said they were

5 looking for help dealing with thoughts of suicide. 2 Phone respondents, in contrast, cited these concerns as their driving motivation only 9% and 3% of the time, respectively. 2 Please note that respondents were able to choose more than one reason for contacting Kids Help Phone via Live Chat and phone.

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