Rise in youth reaching out to Youthline via texting

In the last 20 years, Youthline, a free counselling service for young people has seen a massive shift in the issues young people are facing, with more and more reaching out for help with gay and transgender issues.

It's a busy call centre here at Youthline, fielding more than 80,000 messages from youth looking for help and advice in the last year.

Young people are reaching out more through texting, wanting help with family and relationship problems, but there's been a noticeable increase in gay and transgender issues.

Youthline worker, Julia Rāhui says, “It might be that their parents don't understand where they’re at in terms of their identity, it could be they’re problems with their partners or it could be that they're suffering from some sort of bullying.”

Staff will undergo special cultural training that will aid them in counselling these youth who can sometimes be more vulnerable to bullying and other social ills.

Rahui says, “That is an area that we really want to build on and we do work alongside other organisations like rainbow youth and have specialised training with our youth and staff.”

Set up in 1970, Youthline has found in almost the last 15 years, top youth issues have changed from smoking cigarettes and trying marijuana to self-esteem, bullying, peer pressure and drugs and alcohol.