Calgary

Teens' calls to crisis line soar by 82% in year in Calgary

The Calgary Distress Centre says demand for its teen crisis line has skyrocketed by 82 per cent already over last year's total — and it expects a burst of calls when the school year starts this fall.

Distress Centre's Connecteen service has already helped more than 2,700 young callers this year

The Distress Centre's teen crisis line, Connecteen, has seen an 82 per cent jump in demand over last year. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters)

The Calgary Distress Centre says demand for its teen crisis line has skyrocketed by 82 per cent already over last year's total — and it expects a burst of calls when the school year starts this fall.

The centre's Connecteen line, a peer support service for youth in the Calgary area, fielded 2,600 calls from young people last year.

And those numbers have already been surpassed this year, with more than 2,700 calls by the end of July.

Connecteen co-ordinator Mike Velthuis Kroeze is expecting even more once school starts.

"I think having that confidentiality and knowing that you don't have to worry about that other person on the other end of the line knowing who they're talking to," he said.

"I just think that makes a huge difference in peoples' willingness to discuss what's going on in their lives."

The Distress Centre is also piloting a new practice of keeping Connecteen's texting and online chat services open until as late as 2 a.m.

And the organization is finding that more kids are reaching out on their mobile devices.

Kroeze says kids are looking for a safe place for help with a variety of issues.

"Psychological distress. Usually we kind of refer to as stress, right, whether that's stress with school or problems at home or relationships. And then we also see a lot of things around mental health," he said.

"So, depression and suicide, and then friendships and relationships."

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