0800 What’s Up Opens Helpline To Parents, Caregivers, And Teachers For The First Time During Bullying-Free NZ Week

Published: Thu 9 May 2024 09:53 AM
Barnardos Aotearoa is for the first time extending its 0800 What’s Up counselling service, New Zealand’s only national children’s helpline available free of charge for 5 to 19 year olds, to parents, caregivers, and teachers during Bullying-Free NZ Week.
During Bullying-Free NZ Week*, Barnardos’ counselling service will open early from 9am to 11am and will be available for adults caring for children and young people to access advice and support to help tamariki and rangatahi navigate through challenging situations.
“Empowering caregivers with knowledge and resources around bullying and other issues impacting those they are caring for can help to create a safer and kinder environment for all tamariki and rangatahi,” says Jo Harrison, Barnardos Aotearoa General Manager Child and Family Services.
“An OfficeMax survey** from last year showed that nearly half of those who participated were not aware of the free counselling services available outside of the school network. This gave us an opportunity to consider how we could demonstrate the value of the 0800 What’s Up service to adults caring for young people, which is why we are extending the service to teachers, parents, and caregivers during Bullying-Free NZ Week.”
Barnardos’ counsellors receive more than 10,000 calls and chats from brave children and young people across the motu who reach out for help each year. In the last year, Barnardos has seen an increase in the complexity of the lives of young people, with bullying issues sitting alongside mood and wellbeing issues, family and relationships issues, fear and anxiety, education, and self-harm.
“While rangatahi and tamariki may reach out about a specific issue, our counsellors often unpack many other challenges and other issues emerge. Offering our services to caregivers is an opportunity for them to connect with our experienced counsellors to gain insights on how to best support the young people in their life who are dealing with bullying and other issues,” says Jo Harrison.
0800 What’s Up is part of the continuum of services that Barnardos provides, which means 0800 What’s Up counsellors can refer young people onto other Barnardos services when appropriate, or support Barnardos social workers working with young people who may benefit from a chat or phone call with a counsellor.
“Sometimes children and young people, and indeed parents and caregivers, need someone outside of their family and peer group to talk to, and that’s why our 0800 What’s Up service exists,” says Jo Harrison.
For over 60 years, Barnardos Aotearoa has been working with tamariki and whānau to build nurturing relationships and resilient homes and communities. Barnardos is committed to standing up against bullying by equipping parents with knowledge to support an Aotearoa where every child shines bright.
*Bullying-Free NZ Week aims to raise awareness of how to prevent and respond to bullying in schools and is from 13-17 May 2024.
**The OfficeMax survey was conducted in September 2023 and found that despite 60 per cent of those surveyed seeing an increase in students requesting counselling services in 2023, nearly half (49%) were not aware of free counselling services available outside of the school network. It also found that while 70 per cent said their school has access to on-site or visiting counsellors, 38 per cent said those services do not adequately meet the needs of students. Additional survey results are available on request.

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