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Kids Helpline marks its 25th anniversary

Posted on 29 March 2016
Kids Helpline marks its 25th anniversary

The award-winning counselling service Kids Helpline turns 25 this year and celebrations have begun to mark its amazing work, assisting millions of children and young adults around Australia.

The yourtown service was started by Br Paul Smith from humble origins on 25 March 1991 and was confined to taking calls from within Queensland.

But the pioneers who started the counselling service had to quickly employ more staff to meet an incredible demand, with 10 thousand calls received on the first day alone.

Kids Helpline has been at the forefront of innovation, making history in 2000 as the first organisation to offer a web-chat counselling service.

Its classroom-based Kids Helpline@School now reaches 19 thousand students every year.

The program allows a social worker to conduct a web counselling session in primary classrooms on topics such as cyberbullying, peer pressure and family conflict.

"We've certainly come a long way since we started back in 1991 when the internet didn't exist and all the counselling had to be conducted over the phone", reflects the Manger of the Counselling Centre for Kids Helpline, Tony Fitzgerald.

"We've answered seven and a half million calls since then and we've constantly kept pace with technological change".

Kids Helpline now offers a free mobile phone counselling service and is in the process of developing a smart phone app aimed at helping young people deal with relationship break-ups.

"We've also come across a strong demand for our Kids Helpline@ School program from secondary schools and we're working hard to try and secure sponsorship to expand the service to high schools as well", Tony Fitzgerald adds.

"We are always looking to further innovate our service to meet the digital world, including through social media platforms because we need to constantly reassess the needs of young people and what services they feel most comfortable with".

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