As a nationally promoted outlet for kids seeking a listening ear and encouraging advice, Kids Helpline is struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of calls.
While over 31,000 calls were made to Kids Helpline last year, more than half of those calls were dropped… the most dropped calls recorded since 2012.
Other calls simply went unanswered.
One of the biggest concerns is kids will be discouraged, and won’t continue to seek help.
“When a phone call has been dropped it means that someones tried to ring through and they’ve been unsuccessful, that’s a problem because if we are setting up helplines and people are reaching out for the first time its really important that people have the phone answered,”
Greens MP, Alison Xamon said it’s important to encourage a culture of people reaching out, particularly in children who can go through a whole range of troubling issues.
It is critical to have services that can respond swiftly to people seeking help, particularly when talking about children as we need to create a generation of people who are prepared to engage in help seeking behaviours.
More funding is needed to boost KidsHelpline’s ability to provide these services.
WA contributed just over $62 thousand dollars, which only makes up 0.5 per cent of the Helpline’s operational costs.
QLD is the only other state making contributions, with all other states and territories failing to put forward any money.
“We realise that the Western Australian government is doing more than most of the other states, in fact much wealthier states, they certainly need to be lifting their game because its their kids that are ringing through as well,” she said.
The Federal Government has not been investing in this space in the way the need to be, while they consistently promote KidsHelpline as a national service and first line of care.
“It’s a fat load of good to be looking at promotion of these sorts of helplines if they’re not ensuring that its got the funding to ensure there are people on the other end that can pick it up,” Ms Xamon said.
KidsHelpline receives its financial support from multiple other sources, with 80% of funding coming from fundraising efforts and trusts.
Arguably working very hard to deliver a service which should be delivered by the Government.
Ms Xamon commented when you’re talking about only 20% of their overall finances coming in from Federal and State Government money, with many states and territories not contributing at all, there’s definitely scope for the governments to be stepping up.
“We need to make sure these early intervention and prevention services are getting the funding that they need,”
“Which is exactly what we’ve identified we need to be doing at a State and Federal level, then you’ve got to money up… It’s early dollars for early intervention and you save more money in the long run,” she stated.