AN IRISH HELPLINE for teenagers has seen a 65 per cent increase in calls in the past year, with calls from females making up the majority of contacts.
Calls to Teen-Line Ireland rose by 65 per cent in 2013 from 2012, indicating the increased demand for the freephone helpline. Since January 2013 Teen-Line has received approximately 12,700 calls, which it says indicates the demand and need for its service.
The helpline provides a confidential free-phone listening support service for young people who may be feeling alone, worried or distressed and are aged between 13 and 19 years.
The registered charity said today that active calls, where volunteers engage with the caller, have increased by more than half (55 per cent) since 2012.
Three out of every four callers to Teen-Line last year was female. The three busiest months were October, November and December, while June – exam time – was the third busiest month.
Maureen Bolger, who founded Teen-Line Ireland after her son Darren took his own life, said:
The figures for 2013 show the huge demand and need for the helpline. We actually see this as a good thing, it means that teenagers are more aware that there someone who will listen to them with no judgement and they are accessing this service.
Bolger said that teenagers call the helpline for a myriad of reasons, from bullying in school to complex family issues.
The helpline is run by 60 volunteers. “Teen-Line Ireland is the only organisation in Ireland that provides a freephone confidential number specifically for teenagers so it’s important to keep it open,” said Maureen.
Our aim for 2014 is to increase the capacity of the helpline and to extend the opening hours. We are also looking at offering a texting service.
Teen-Line Ireland is open seven days a week from 8pm to 11pm, with an extended service from 4pm to 11pm every Wednesday.