NZ youth development organisation, Youthline has officially made its helpline accessible to young people in the Cook Islands.
Sponsored by Telecom Cook Islands, youth in the Cook Islands can now call 0800HELP to be connected to a Youthline phone counsellor free of charge.
The project connecting to Youthline’s helpline was initiated by the Cook Islands community with young people feeling that access to a free, confidential helpline service would be of great service.
Youthline Auckland CEO, Stephen Bell travelled to the Cook Islands for the official launch on the 30th of May.
“It was just a really fantastic vibe, there were hundreds of young people at the launch and from seeing their response to it, we can tell it’s going to be hugely beneficial for them,” says Bell. “The launch of this service is also a great way to tell young people that people care deeply about them and that they are a very important part of the community,” he adds.
“We understand that young people in the Cook Islands face unique challenges but also that like other young people across the world, access to free and confidential support in times of need can be incredibly beneficial” he says.
Youthline ambassador, RnB singer Pieter T, also attended the launch, talking with students candidly about the challenges of growing up and the personal obstacles he faced.
The successful launch was a culmination of months of hard work from many different groups, including a steering committee in the Cook Islands who travelled to NZ to train and brief Youthline staff on issues pertinent to Cook Island youth.
“We’ve worked to ensure that this process is safe and user friendly for our youth by equipping the phone line counsellors with sound knowledge and skills”, says steering group chairperson, Vania Keening.
Mr Bell says this is an exciting and valuable partnership.
“We’re really pleased with how this process has gone and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with all the wonderful people and organisations in the Cook Islands who have helped make this possible.
Youthline Auckland would love to hear from people from or connected to the Cook Islands who are interested in training to become volunteer helpline counsellors.