Youthline is happy to be contacted for media comment or by anyone wanting to find out more about us and help us promote our work. Below are some useful links and information that may assist with answering some of your questions.
As we are often contacted to speak about our position regarding a particular issue, we have prepared some papers that describe Youthline's approach on a range of issues:
FAQs about Youthline
We get a lot of requests from students, and others, researching assignments on Youthline which is awesome - we really like to be able help out, so in order to make sure we can assist all those who contact us wanting info about our organisation, we have prepared some FAQs.
If you have any additional questions that are not answered here, please let us know.
When was Youthline started and why?
Youthline was proudly established in 1970 by a group of people who realised that there were not a lot of options for young people needing to access health and development services. Youthline actually grew out of local initiatives based in communities around the country, with a common service linking us – the youth helpline. Since then, some of our services have expanded in different regions to include a range of other supports for young people.
What is the structure of Youthline as an organisation?
Youthline is made up of separate legal entities (with their own structures – a mixture of charitable trusts and incorporated societies) based in different regions of the country.
Organisations using the name ‘Youthline’ began popping up from the 1970’s around New Zealand but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that they began to work more closely together. This was largely due to new technologies that allowed Youthline to establish one helpline and a 0800 service that could be answered in different parts of the country – allowing all centres to come on board and work together more closely.
The Youthline organisations are now joined together by a Memorandum of Understanding that states how each centre will work together to provide our common services – the Youth helpline suite of services. Each centre provides helpline coverage, and some centres provide other additional services (for example in some areas, centres provide face to face counselling, mentoring services, youth development programmes and many others).
How do people become volunteers and what is the training involved?
There are many ways to volunteer with Youthline, and we are always looking for people with a range of skills to help us out.
On the Helpline (phone/text/email/chat support) we are after volunteers who have good listening skills, are compassionate and non judgmental. Helpline training is held in each Youthline centre, taking place several times each year. The training involved usually takes about six months to complete before counsellors are able to roster on for independent shifts. Once the training has been completed, counsellors are expected to roster on for shifts each month and attend regular supervision.
We also need a variety of other volunteers to cover the many other things we do.
To learn more about volunteering in communities across New Zealand, check out this page.
How is Youthline funded?
Youthline's funding comes from many different areas. These include contracts, grants, philanthropic donors, sponsors, fundraising and donations.
If you are interested in fundraising for Youthline, we'd love to hear from you! Check out our fundraising page.
What are the main issues young people contact you about?
Youthline gets contacted about all sorts of things. Most common to our Helpline and text service are people wanting to discuss relationships that they might have (whether it's friends, family, boyfriends/girlfriends), feeling down or depressed or just wanting to seek some advice about what to do in the future.
What makes working with young people different from working with other groups?
The young people that come to Youthline for support present with a number of different strengths and struggles. No young person is the same and this makes working with them both challenging and rewarding. Youth are defined as young people between the age 12 and 24 and this is a time where there are a lot of changes occurring physically, mentally and emotionally. These changes can bring challenge but also opportunities for growth and expression. Some young people are still living at home or attending school and this may mean that they feel bound by their parents or caregivers as well as feeling unsure about what they are studying and the direction they are going in. Lots of young people find themselves asking big questions like “Who am I?” and “What do I want to do with my life?”. Youthline can help by working alongside the young person to explore some of these questions, and help them to reach a space where they feel supported, safe and confident to go into the world as resilient young people who are well-resourced and able to make decisions about issues that affect them. Sometimes the media representation and society’s perception of young people isn’t always positive; this can have impact on young people’s perception of themselves and sense of belonging in the wider community. Working with youth is all about helping them to build connections with their families, peers and community and this means working alongside them, acknowledging them and reassuring them too.