Youthline more important than ever

Last Updated : 29 Jun 2023
Youthline Dtlb

A friendly voice belonging to a good listener is at the other end of the line when young people in our community need someone to talk to.

The purpose of Youthline is to support young people, which includes ensuring they know where to get help and can access support when they need it. A mixture of volunteers and paid staff members work with the organisation in centres around the country, three of which are based in Tāmaki Makaurau. More than 5,500 young Aucklanders were supported through the helpline in the last 12 months.

Over $70,000 worth of grants from 17 local boards have helped fund their volunteer training programmes in the past year, including $6000 from Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.

“Youthline has always done a great job. The help they offer our young people is more relevant than ever so the local board wants to support them however we can,” says Devonport-Takapuna Local Board Chair Toni van Tonder.

Megan Metcalfe volunteers for Youthline She struggled with her own mental health in her early teenage years, and says she turned to Youthline for support.

“At that time it felt like there was no one around me I could trust to have the outside perspective that a helpline counsellor might. Reaching out to Youthline made me feel like there was someone to listen who was not in my immediate circle. It helped me to ground my thoughts.

“I started volunteering in February 2021 while I was studying psychology at university. I wanted to volunteer my time to a helpline specifically, to give back to that space and also find out more about how it actually functions.”

The training volunteers receive is comprehensive, and includes learning how to engage with callers empathetically, assessing their situation to provide them with options, cultural competency, and risk assessment.

Megan explains that another big part of it is understanding how to look after yourself while working on the helplines. “One of the first things I learnt during the training process was self-care practices. It helps that the hubs are very supportive environments. Everyone else is there to debrief.”

She encourages people who are interested in volunteering to reach out and see if it’s for you. “It’s given me a lot of perspective in terms of what young people go through and has made me realise what I want to do as a career.”

If you’re a young person in need of help, you can call Youthline for free on 0800 37 66 33 or free text 234.

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, email

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