News / Ottawa

Youth Services Bureau to add new web-based crisis chat service

Today’s youth rarely pick up the phone to make a traditional call, which is why the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa is planning to add a new chat feature on its website that would connect a youth with a crisis professional in real time.

The YSB is only in the early stages of developing the text-based service. A request for proposals went out earlier this week.

The feature would be an “add-on” to existing crisis services already offered, such as the crisis phone line, and the crisis workers on the other side of the screen would be local.

Ted Charette, assistant director of mental health services at YSB, told Metro he hopes the chat feature will be operational by the end of this year.

“This is something that we’ve prioritized in our mental health department to try and get up and running,” said

Fundraising efforts are needed to get this project off the ground, but so far sponsors such as RBC and the Cowan Foundation have got the ball rolling, he added.

“We wouldn’t be anywhere close to be able to deliver what we think is a crucial service to providing youth in our community. We think that this is going to save lives.”

More on Metronews.ca