How To Find Youth Peer Support

How To Find Youth Peer Support

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Although it’s a brand new year, we are still living in the midst of a pandemic that restricts who we can be around and where we can go. As it has the past 10 months, COVID-19 has affected all aspects of life, especially for youth.

With online school quickly approaching, students of all ages will continue to learn from home which will no doubt be difficult and secluding.

If you know a friend, teammate, or you know that you are struggling and don’t know where to turn to, here are a list of peer supports that are youth-centric and available for you to utilize.

CMHA Calgary Peer Support

Our Peer Support service provides the opportunity for anyone – individual, family member or professional – looking for a connection with others, who is new to the mental health and/or addiction community, or looking for information about a mental health diagnosis, the chance to speak with someone with personal experience.

When you call CMHA, the first person you talk to will be someone who may have travelled a similar journey to your own who can assist and provide you with information on your options, opportunities and supports available. They have had over 120 hours of training on relationships, recovery and peer support and a lifetime of experience.

Available Phone Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 11 am – 3 pm MST and Tuesdays from, 1 pm – 7 pm MST.

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is a Canadian based national service offering 24/7 support. They offer professional counselling, information, referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French. The texting service they provide is free and available across the country. Kids Help Phone also allows youth to connect with a crisis responder through Facebook Messenger.

When you call or text Kids Help Phone, they will provide you with a professional counsellor. The counsellor may ask questions to learn more about your situation and then come up with solutions or next steps together. Counsellors are always here to listen to you.

Conversations over Kids Help Phone are confidential and anonymous. 

Hope for Wellness

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers 24/7 immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. On the other side of the phone are experienced, culturally appropriate counsellors that will talk about distressing conversations including triggers, painful memories, emotional reactions, etc.

Every phone call and chatbox conversation are available in English and French, or if requested, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. Hope for Wellness counsellors will work to find the best wellness supports available for you.

Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline is a trans-led organization that connects transgendered people to the community, support, and resources they need. Trans Lifeline is committed to respecting the boundaries of each and every caller by asking questions about why they are calling — not their age, nationality, race, religion, orientation, socioeconomic status, immigration status, mental or physical ability or body type, including intersex status.

All peer support operators are trans-identified and do not expect for the caller to disclose specifics about their gender identity, transition or pronouns, but they may ask some questions to compile the best possible resources for that person.

Calgary ConnecTeen

ConnecTeen is a confidential peer support service for youth in Calgary and Area. As a Distress Centre program, ConnecTeen is entirely used for youth to disclose as much as they want over what means they feel comfortable with.

Available Chat Hours: Monday to Friday, from 3 pm – 10 pm MST, and Saturday and Sunday, from 12 pm – 10 pm MST

Available Phone Hours: It’s answered 24 hours a day, with peer support available from 5 pm – 10 pm MST on weekdays and from 12 pm – 10 pm MST on Saturday and Sunday. Outside of those hours, adult volunteers respond to calls.

Addictions and Mental Health Helpline

The Addiction and Mental Health Help Line is a 24 hour, 7 day a week confidential service that provides support, information and referrals to Albertans of any age experiencing addiction and mental health concerns, including problem gambling.

The helpline is staffed by a multidisciplinary team comprised of nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, and psychologists operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available to all Albertans.

Black Youth Helpline

Black Youth Helpline (BYH) acts as more than just a helpline. They aim to be the initial point of contact for struggling multicultural youth, giving them an opportunity to talk to someone who will listen. BYH addresses that mental health challenges facing youth are often misidentified and therefore unaddressed until situations reach crisis proportions.

Black Youth supports include health counselling, coaching, parent and family supports, and community school consultations. Their mission is to be the primary prevention of social, psychological breakdown in communities through a focus on education, health and community development.

Available Phone Hours: Everyday, from 9 am – 10 pm ET

Community Connect YYC

Community Connect YYC (CCYYC) is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for members of the Calgary community to find affordable counselling services and other social supports. CCYYC is a 24/7 online booking tool allowing Calgarians to book an appointment whenever they feel ready to do so.

CCYYC currently offers the following supports:

  • Rapid Counselling
  • Grief Supports
  • Family Support
  • Counselling for Children and Families
  • Domestic Violence Support
  • Sexual Health Counselling (LGBTQ2S+ Youth)
  • Counselling for Immigrants and First Languages
  • Low-Income Family Supports
  • Addiction Medicine

Launched in 2019, Community Connect YYC is becoming a major source for Calgarians to address their personal health concerns in a safe, secure and convenient way while maintaining social distancing regulations in Alberta.

CMHA Calgary is apart of the Community Connect YYC network providing counselling for family support and suicide bereavement.

24 Hour Crisis Lines

If you are in immediate help and cannot find someone you trust who is willing to support you, dial a crisis line right away. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days, the Distress Centre will always answer with an open mind and a caring ear.

  • Website: Distress Centre
  • 24/7 Crisis Line – 403-266-HELP (4357)
  • Hearing Impaired – 403-543-1967

This service is free and is offered in over 200 languages.

If you are having thoughts of suicide and want to talk to someone, call or text Crisis Services Canada. Whichever centre your call goes to, all calls will be answered by a caring and highly trained suicide prevention responder. You do not have to cope with the feelings of hopelessness and the terrible psychological pain on your own.

Available Text Messaging Hours: Everyday, from 2pm – 10pm MST

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. Help is out there. 

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. Counselling programs for Suicide Bereavement and Family Support are also still available through phone at 403-297-1708, email counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca or online through Community Connect YYC.

YouthSMART would like to thank Sagium and Kinsted Wealth for being our 2020 – 2021 website sponsor.