Greens spokesperson for children and youth, Hon Alison Xamon MLC, has renewed her call for the Government to increase funding for the Kids Helpline as answers to questions in Parliament yesterday revealed two out of three calls to the helpline from Western Australian children and young people went unanswered in 2018.
Ms Xamon said that more than half of the attempts made by children and young people to contact the counselling service using web chat last year were also unsuccessful.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for children and young people aged 5 to 25.
Ms Xamon first raised concerns about this issue in June last year, when her questions in Parliament revealed 56 per cent of calls made during 2017 had not been answered. Since that time nothing has been done to address the issue, and the situation is now even worse.
“I find it particularly concerning that this widely advertised helpline, which has an established reputation as a first point of contact for children and young people who need urgent advice or counselling, continues to not be funded to be able to meet need,” said Ms Xamon.
“As I said last year, if we are going to promote this as a crisis line we need to ensure we have the resourcing available to meet demand,” Ms Xamon said.
“The Kids Helpline services provide an important opportunity for early intervention and to support children to address a wide range of personal issues.”
Ms Xamon said that according to the Kids Helpline annual report the most common reasons children and young people contacted the helpline in 2017 were related to mental health, with a further 16 per cent of contacts suicide-related.
“Children and young people are clearly seeking help for serious issues,” said Ms Xamon.
"The Government must look at this as a matter of priority to ensure children and young people who reach out get the support they need, when they need it.”
“By failing to adequately fund the Kids Helpline, state and federal Governments are placing some of the state’s most vulnerable children and young people at further risk”.