New youth chat service hailed as 'a major first for Ireland'

New youth chat service hailed as 'a major first for Ireland'

Welcoming the new service, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said the launch is particularly timely.

Yesterday, four leading Irish youth organisations formally launched the new system called the Digital Youth Information Chat Service. 

Crosscare, SpunOut, YMCA and Youth Work Ireland who had long-planned this service expedited the launch to support young people during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Aimed at individuals between the ages of 16 and 25, the service is staffed by professional Youth Information Workers.

The system will be initially live from 4pm to 8pm Monday to Friday. 

Young people can make queries outside of these times, which will generate a "ticket." 

Youth Information Workers then pick up and respond to outstanding tickets when the system next becomes active.

Welcoming the new service, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said the launch is particularly timely.

"The launch of the chat line service today is particularly welcome at a time when young people are facing enormous challenges in all areas of their lives, particularly in matters of mental health, but are also harnessing their talents and capabilities to play a crucial role in the societal response to the current Covid-19 crisis. 

"I would like to commend the Youth Information Partnership for working together nationally to provide information for young people on a dedicated online facility. 

"Any initiative which seeks to support young people in maintaining their health and wellbeing is particularly welcome now and into the future," she said. 

The service was also lauded by Eleanor O’Sullivan of Youth Work Ireland Cork, based in Gurranebraher.

"This new service is a natural extension of what youth information workers do day to day but enhances this work by recognising both the importance of the online lives that young people lead and of course the current period which presents huge challenges for young people.

"This is a major first for Ireland in these difficult times and we expect it to make a significant contribution to young peoples lives," she said.

"The service is critical because it responds to young people's information needs in real time and helps them navigate different arguments and information sources by being able to interact with a trained professional through the chat service," Ms O'Sullivan added.

Young people can access the service by going to https://direct.lc.chat/10341532/

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