YSB's Online Crisis Chat Service

Ted Charette, Assistant Director, Mental Health Services

Youth Services Bureau

Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa

The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) serves more than 3,000 youth and families each month in Ottawa. Among the services that YSB offers in Ottawa, are mental health services. Did you know that 20 percent of youth deal with a mental health issue; of those, only one in five are able to get the help that they need. That's why our services are so important.

Our mental health counselors work in our walk-in clinic, mobile team, and a crisis line that's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And now, we have a great new way for young people in Ottawa to reach out for help, our online crisis chat service. 

As we all know, the teen years can be a complex and challenging time. More than half of teenagers report feeling sad, hopeless, and discouraged during this time. Many youth in the Ottawa area are in need of help, but are not sure where to turn. Young people face difficulties such as depression, thoughts of suicide, inability to cope, feeling alone, bullying, and family conflict.

At YSB, we want to make sure that young people who are struggling with relationships, anxiety, depression and other challenges have somewhere to go when they need help. Their parents or caregivers can reach out to us as well!

The reason that we added this service is that teens have told us that they prefer communicating online versus using the phone. It's easy, free, and can be completely anonymous. This crisis service, which can be easily found at chat.ysb.ca, will connect youth directly to a trained mental health counselor.

We want to make sure that young people know that at YSB, they can find services that are non-judgmental, safe, and accessible.

Having access to an online mental health counselor will give youth a way to connect with the help that they need. In addition to our telephone crisis line, youth can reach out for support during times of crisis via our mobile and web chat site by visiting our web site at chat.ysb.ca.

The online chat service is available Thursday to Sunday from 4 - 10 p.m. Our crisis counsellors are available to chat with youth in crisis. In addition to immediate support, people will also be able to access our other mental health services, crisis follow up, and short-term residential unit. The crisis telephone line is also open 24/7 at 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775.

We will all face challenges and struggles throughout our lives, and hopefully each day we'll be better able to manage things that are difficult. We invite youth and their families to reach out to the the crisis chat service at chat.ysb.ca.   

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