Youthline launches new GoForward range of e-therapy tools
Youthline launches new GoForward range of e-therapy tools
Youth development and leadership organisation Youthline is excited to announce the arrival of GoForward, a suite of online products designed for youth support and personal development.
The services include GoChat: the latest Youth Helpline contact point; GoLive: a video counselling pilot programme; GoMobile: a text-based therapy package, and the GoGetter tools: self-assessment quizzes.
Youthline has always been an early adopter of technology to deliver support to young people, in particular with the world first introduction of text-based counselling in 2004.
Last year Youthline took the pulse of young people across New Zealand to find out where, why, and how young people ask for help. We learned that 64% of young people turn to the web first when looking for answers to some of life's most important questions. Reflection and research tells us that confidentiality, accessibility and autonomy are hallmark features of a safe place to go for help and this knowledge has driven the development of our latest services.
Young people were involved at every level of the GoForward developments, from project management, to consultation, to testing. This project exemplifies Youthline’s participative approach, and the belief that young people have the capacity to make great change in their communities.
“This is all about learning,” says Youthline Triage Team Leader Smita Dahya, who was on the frontline when Youthline launched its popular text counselling service in 2005.
“We want to interact and hear from the young people who use the services to find out as much as possible about their experiences, so we can improve and grow” says Dahya.
Pilots of the GoMobile and GoChat services were encouraging and informative. All of the young people who took part in the GoMobile pilot saw a reduction in anxiety and depression by the end of the programme.
The evaluation of GoChat “offers unique insights into training and development for counsellors considering IM as a contemporary counselling medium,” says Youthline Youth Development Researcher David Anstiss. These insights were incorporated into the training provided to Youthline Counsellors.
“The findings suggest young people’s expectation of warmth and empathy, and support the need for IM-specific training, particularly the crafting of messages that convey understanding and human emotion. It emphasises findings in psychological research that the therapeutic alliance and relationship outweighs the medium in which counselling takes place and the particular modality being used in the counselling.”
“This project has been an incredible journey,” says Youthline Auckland CEO and National Spokesperson, Stephen Bell. “The growth and change in how we deliver our services has been fascinating to watch, but at the same time, the heart of our work – creating communities which relate to the needs of young people and support them to achieve their potential – that hasn’t changed at all.
Web based counselling
GoChat is a web based instant messaging service delivered by trained Youthline Helpline Counsellors.
The service is a natural bridge between phone and text counselling, it combines the anonymity of the web with the real life, instant connection of a phone call. The focus is on creating a space online where young people feel comfortable about seeking help.
The beta service will be delivered between the hours of 7pm-11pm. “We already know that 7pm is one of the peak times of demand for our helpline services,” says Dahya, “and from our experience we continue to get contacts from young people up to midnight. We think that this evening period is likely to be when young people are at their computers looking for a bit of support, and may not have other options as available to them.”
1 in 2 young New Zealanders do not feel their problems are big enough to ask for help. Embarrassment is the single greatest barrier to a young person asking for help. Taking the first step toward reaching out is incredibly brave. The GoGetter tools aim to make that first step a little bit easier – a quiz isn’t a commitment, but it might nudge someone who needs some extra support in the right direction. The GoGetter range of self-assessment quizzes will help you figure out why you are feeling the way you are and they’ll provide good information about where to go next.
There are currently five quizzes available on the Youthline website, which more to come soon.
Txt based counselling programme
GoMobile is all about choice, flexibility and confidentiality. It's a ten week text counselling programme designed specifically for young people with mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. Every young person who completed the research based pilot programme saw a statistically significant reduction in anxiety and depression.
It’s a combination of therapeutic intervention but much less intensive than face-to-face counselling.
This programme increases accessibility for young people who don’t have reliable transport or don’t want to have a face to face counselling relationship.
Online video counselling
Everyone has difficult experiences or feelings at some point in their lives, and it isn't always easy or useful to try to deal with them alone. Seeing someone face to face who can work with you in a confidential and safe environment can help you to better understand yourself, discover your strengths, make decisions, deal with difficult life events both present and past, cope with difficult feelings, improve your relationships and improve self-esteem.
Not everyone can access regular face-to-face counselling due to location, transport, health or other reasons. We hope by offering this service we can help reduce barriers to accessing quality help.
To check out the tools click here