Kids Help Phone expands mental health services to support newcomers from Afghanistan and Ukraine
Every young person deserves the opportunity to be heard and to express their feelings in a safe space. But for newcomers Canadaunique challenges like language barriers can make it difficult to access mental health supports.
Like about half of newcomers fleeing conflict in Afghanistan and Ukraine are young people, Kids Help Phone identified an urgent need to provide a safe space to talk about their experiences. Kids Help Phone has been scaled to offer a professional telephone consultation service, through an interpreter, in Dari, Pashto, Russian and Ukrainian – the first mental health organization to do so in Canada.
The national youth mental health charity has accelerated the launch of these four languages as part of an immediate crisis response to support young people affected by conflict in Afghanistan and Ukraine. This language expansion is made possible through funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which has generously funded Newcomer Initiatives with the introduction of telephone counseling in Arabic and Mandarin at Kids Help Phone since 2019 and extended funding to 100 languages. by 2025.
Kids Help Phone supports young people in every province and territory Canada. As the only national mental health service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in French and English for young people in Canada, the organization knows firsthand that for many young people, seeking mental health support is not always easy to do. Seeking support can be stigmatized and many young people, including newcomers, may not have the language to understand or describe what they are feeling. By launching language counseling services for newcomers from Afghanistan and Ukraine, Kids Help Phone hopes to better serve these brave young people fleeing conflict.
“The lives of so many young people have been turned upside down because they had to leave, or even flee, their country. It’s heartbreaking to think about what these young people are going through and how insecure they can feel. We believe in a future where every young person in Canada can access the support they need, in the way they need it most,” said Catherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “Make online mental health support more accessible through language for all young people through Canada is an important step to ensure equitable access to the most vulnerable people. We appreciate IRCC’s support and vision to enable the expansion of Kids Help Phone’s language offerings to meet a critical need today, with a view to expanding to more languages in the months to come. .
“Canada has a proud tradition of welcoming and supporting the world’s most vulnerable. In order to adapt to life in Canada, we need to ensure newcomers have access to the resources they need to deal with past trauma and rebuild their lives. Creating this safe and accessible, culturally sensitive space is particularly important when dealing with vulnerable young people, and this funding will ensure that those fleeing conflict, including Afghans and Ukrainians, have the support that they need to realize their full potential during their stay. Canada.” The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Offering counseling in new languages allows Kids Help Phone to meet the needs of refugees who come Canada in greater numbers. Kids Help Phone stands in solidarity with millions of people across Canada who have risen to the cause and works with settlement service provider organizations to publicize our language expansion.
When a young person calls 1-800-668-6868 and presses 3, they will be connected to an interpreter and a professional counsellor. The session will take place through an interpreter.
- Self-identified newcomer youth have had 2,500 interactions with Kids Help Phone in the past six months.
- 76% said they had shared something with a KHP Advisor that they had never shared before
- 81% felt less upset after their interaction with KHP
- 86% got the support they were looking for from KHP
- To access services in Dari, Pashto, Ukrainian and/or Russian, newcomer youth can call 1-800-668-6868 and press 3 to be connected with a counselor and interpreter.
- These four languages are in addition to the services provided in Arabic and Mandarin which were launched in 2021.