I tried calling a Kids Help Phone counsellor. Here’s #HowItFelt

Published 2021-03-23 03:00

‘It actually made my day'

Is the pandemic weighing on you? You aren’t alone. In 2020, the Kids Help Phone received twice as many calls and texts as it did in 2019, and a recent study from Sick Kids hospital showed that 70 per cent of Canadian kids experienced a deterioration of their mental health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, CBC Kids News is rolling out five stories from kids and teens who tried something new to improve their mental health and shared #HowItFelt. Here’s one of those stories.

Sawyer Burke has always valued good conversation.

As someone on the autism spectrum, the 12-year-old from Hatchet Lake, Nova Scotia, says he needs that social time to “have a decent day.”

But with the ongoing pandemic, and the fact that his parents are front-line workers, he’s been having a harder time than usual connecting with people.

“I didn’t really have anyone to talk to,” Sawyer said about the past year.

On top of that, he’s been stressed about a family member with cancer. 

CBC Kids News asked Sawyer if he’d be interested in making a call to Kids Help Phone to experience a conversation with a professional counsellor.

Watch the video below to see #HowItFelt for Sawyer.

What is Kids Help Phone?

Kids Help Phone is a free texting and calling service where you can talk about anything you choose.

It’s available for Canadian kids to access any time, day or night.

Counsellor Abbiesha Suresh says it’s totally normal to be nervous when seeking out counselling, so Kids Help Phone tries to create the safest space possible to vent. (Image credit: CBC). 

Kids Help Phone counsellor Abbiesha Suresh said the service is all about getting kids the help they need.

“We provide a safe space for them to vent or talk or even provide them websites or services around the community.”

Anonymous and confidential

Kids Help phone is also anonymous and confidential, meaning that anything you talk about is completely private.

“When kids give us a call, we don’t know who they are or where they are,” Suresh said.

What if I’m nervous?

Suresh said it’s totally normal to feel uncertain about reaching out.

“It’s OK to feel nervous when reaching out, especially if it’s your first time,” she said.

“It can be really hard to tell someone how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Those feelings are really normal, so it’s OK to take it at your pace.”

Getting in touch

To use the Kids Help Phone text service, text CONNECT to 686868.

You can also reach a professional counsellor at Kids Help Phone any time day or night by calling 1-800-668-6868.

More from the #HowItFelt series

Looking for more stories

Do you have a story you want to share about mental health and overcoming adversity? CBC Kids News wants to hear from you. Click here to submit a story for the next installment of our #HowItFelt series.


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