0800 What’s Up is run by Barnardos New Zealand. We’re a free, nationally-available counselling helpline and webchat service for children and teenagers.
For the past 18 years our counsellors have been helping callers to find solutions to their problems, equipping them with the tools they need to deal with situations now and in the future.
We answered over 32,500 calls and online chats
Of those, 86 calls were from kids in imminent danger.
Young people call us for many reasons. The top 5 in 2017 were:
- Mental Health – callers told us of their concerns for their own or someone else’s mental health. Topics included anxiety, feeling down or depressed, self-harm, being clinically diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder and medication.
- Family relationships – callers talked to us about issues with their care givers and siblings, extended family and whānau.
- Relationships - we took calls about problems with friends, peer pressure, making friends, friendship breakdowns and concerns for a friend’s wellbeing.
- Dating – many callers told us of problems with boyfriends or girlfriends and sexual issues.
- Bullying – callers told us about their experiences of deliberate emotional and physical harassment at school or at home, and online bullying.
Our counsellors are fully qualified professionals. They are trained to empower children and put them first and they use these skills to help our callers
Many of the children and young people who call us are trusting an adult with their problems for the first time. Some will form an ongoing relationship with our counsellors who’ll provide stable and reliable support when the caller needs it.
Empowering children is central to our counselling practice. We help to develop a child’s personal competence and resilience, so they can take the right perspective on the world around them.
‘Child-centred practice’ underpins everything we do. We:
- Listen and respect what children have to say
- Focus on their needs
- See the world from their perspective
- Know that the child is the primary client
- See the child as an individual
- Respect the child
0800 What’s Up has been around for over 18 years. Jocelyn Cowern, a passionate advocate for children and young people, investigated establishing a children’s helpline in 1997. She wanted to base it on an Australian children’s help service called Kids Helpline. In 1999 the Kids Help Foundation Trust was set up and began to scope a helpline service in New Zealand, focusing on children aged seven to 12 years. This group was seen as being under-served by mental health providers, and wasn’t benefiting from any other professional telephone counselling service at that time.
O800 What’s Up took its first call on 21 September 2001 What’s Up was the first helpline to introduce a web-chat service in 2014. Since then, we have answered 1.6 million calls and 10,000 chats.
In 2012, What’s Up joined Barnardos NZ as one of its key services to support kiwi kids and teenagers.
All calls to What’s Up are free. To help us keep this service running we rely on government funding and our generous supporters across Aotearoa New Zealand.
This ongoing support means we can help every child and young person who asks for it. In 2017 we answered over 32,000 calls and web-chats from kids as young as five years
If you’d like to become a supporter you can make a donation here