My Experience in a Kids Help Phone Pilot Program
In January 2021, I applied to be a part of a Kids Help Phone pilot program for their new Peer-to-peer service.
This is a forum-style website for Canadian youth to share their struggles with mental health and beyond. I have really enjoyed my experience being a part of the pilot program, so I thought I would share some of my highlights and thoughts before the Peer-to-peer service is officially launched in the next month or so.
First, I think a service like this fills a gap in Canada. The program, which is targeted at youth ages 12-26, is for Canadians only. I also think it’s really great that the site will be moderated, and all posts by youth will have to be approved, which in my opinion encourages youth to post more because they know they are posting in a safe space.
Second, from my experience I know that posting in the Peer-to-peer forum, even during its trial stage, helped me a lot with voicing my thoughts and feelings when I felt disconnected during the online semesters.
I have super supportive friends and family, but writing down my thoughts and feelings to a bunch of anonymous strangers actually helped me work through the mental health struggles and isolation I felt during the last few months.
Third, I really liked being able to read other peers’ posts on the site which is a big feature of the project.
A lot of the other pilot participants were going through similar school, family, and mental health struggles that I was and getting to read their posts reminded me that many youth right now are feeling isolated—I am not alone, and none of us are.
The Peer-to-peer service also allows peers to comment on each other’s posts to make recommendations, offer solutions, or simply express their own similar experiences.
While mental health services are becoming increasingly harder to obtain, and many youth don’t have the financial means to access them, I think that Kids Help Phone putting together a project like this is important. Social media offers many opportunities for youth collaboration, but rarely with the kind of regulated moderation that this Peer-to-peer service offers, which is why I think this project will be so successful. I cannot recommend it enough.
For more information on the Peer-to-peer service pilot program, visit https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/peer-to-peer-pilot and watch out for the launch of the project in the next few months.