Kanner-Jugendtelefon (KJT) has been the national helpline for children and young people for almost 30 years.
Children and young people can contact us with any type of enquiry, worry, problem or fear, either by phone or online.
Since 2015, we have expanded our services and set up a team of native English speakers to advise English-speaking children, teenagers and parents online (www.kjt.lu).
Our volunteers are trained consultants who work anonymously and confidentially, who have time to listen, support, advise and, if necessary, refer.
Talking about issues and problems is helpful, but can also be difficult. Amongst other things, feelings of shame and guilt, the fear of being a burden or being judged, make it difficult for children and youngsters to share their thoughts. Our service is therefore very low-threshold.
Both children and adolescents contact us, concerned about pressure and overwhelmed by their personal situation. They talk to us about bullying, cyberbullying, conflicts in families, separation and divorce, conflicts with friends, violence, abuse, addiction, stress at school, suicidal thoughts, self-harming behaviour, sorrows and fears.
During the Corona period, children and young people were particularly put to the test. They had to accept huge changes as well as adapt their usual behaviour.
It was a time with many restrictions in all areas: their family rituals and activities, their relationships with friends, their learning situation and home schooling, their after-school hobbies, sports and leisure activities changed or were even cancelled. Their individual and basic needs were massively restricted: the need for security, control, certainty, privacy, peace of mind, a good night's sleep, social recognition and social embedding were not at all or only partially met.
Any limitation of needs has a direct impact on our mental health. If our mental health is stable, we are better equipped to deal with challenges in times of crisis. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Moreover, in times of #stayathome it is more difficult to be distracted from our problems. Thoughts turn faster into a crisis and are always in the foreground, they don’t let us escape.
Therefore, it is not surprising that pre-existing psychological problems intensify in such times of crisis. Those who contacted us during the Corona period confirmed this. We did not noticeably receive more calls, but those we did receive were particularly intense and of existential importance.
Young people suffering from (cyber)bullying, worries, depression, self-harming behaviour, self-esteem problems, loneliness and suicidal thoughts even before the Corona period report worsening symptoms. They find this period very stressful.
Unfortunately, psychological, therapeutic or psychiatric support appointments were sometimes missed or cancelled because of the corona virus, with young people in need of support often feeling abandoned and alone during this particularly difficult time.
During these times, as in others, we tried to reach as many children and young people as possible with the message: we are here for you, in times of crisis and always.
We are very grateful that we can participate this year in Darkness Into Light Luxembourg (DILL) as an official partner charity.
Last year we also took part, as raising awareness about suicide and self-harm is a matter of great importance to us and which we wish to support. This was especially important to us because we know that suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviour are a reality for youngsters and sometimes even for children.
Our participation in DILL will help us publicise our service further and get closer to our goal which is that every child, every youngster and every parent, grandparent and professional working with children know about our helplines. Only if they know that we are there for them can they reach out when they need support.
Nobody needs to be alone! No problem is too big nor too small. We are here for you.