0800 What’s Up is here for any child or teenager who needs to talk about the challenges in their everyday lives. Our helpline provides an essential service for anyone aged five to 19. We are open 365 days a year, and calls are free.
Our aim is to make every caller feel safe so that they can share their problems with us. This helps them become confident and develop a greater sense of hope for their lives and for the future.
We know it works and that children trust us.
What happens when a child calls us?
No problem is too big or too small. We are here to talk and listen, take an interest, empathise and provide helpful information and guidance so they can find their own solutions. Callers can ask to have ongoing counselling with the same counsellor if it helps them build trust.
If it’s important to the child, it’s important to us.
We don’t judge the ‘importance’ of an issue. We take the time to build rapport with every caller and to understand their situation. Our goal is to help our callers find their own solutions and build their problem-solving skills for the future. We also encourage callers to talk with an adult they trust about what's going on.
Our counsellors are fully qualified professionals.
They are trained to empower children and put them first. This means they actively listen and encourage open and honest conversations. They work with the caller, talking them through their problems to reach a positive resolution, where the caller feels empowered and supported.
We know through our work, that having someone to talk with is absolutely essential for all children.
Top 10 issues our callers talk to us about
Kids and young people experience a wide range of pressures:
- Problems at home
- Dating and having sex
- Grief and loss
- Mental illness
- Health issues
In 2017, we received 86 calls from children who were in imminent danger. These calls can literally be a matter of life and death. We treat these calls with extra care and involve other agencies, such as Police and Oranga Tamariki, to ensure the caller is safe.
Worried about your child?
If you’re worried about your child or teen, or they’ve got a problem that you think we could help them talk through, encourage them to give us a call. Here at 0800 What’s Up we’re always here to help.
Calls to 0800 What’s Up are confidential. Our guiding rule is to always act in the best interests of the caller.
Callers’ personal information is used only if they are in imminent danger – if there is a risk of suicide, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or there is a threat to harm others. In these instances, we need to involve other agencies to keep the child or another person safe. Each such decision is assessed, through a rigorous review process that includes consulting a supervisor, before being approved.