The Teen Hot Line in Campbell River was developed in response to the large apparent need for teens to talk with their peers about important issues (Tindall & Gray, 1989). In order to reach out to as many youths as possible, a regularly scheduled volunteer telephone service staffed by trained high school students was required to address at least some of their concerns.
The results of a Student Needs Assessment Survey (Dolan, 1991), as well as research on the views of some alternate school students at the time (Dolan, 1980), indicated that most youths would prefer to talk to someone their own age with regard to interpersonal, school or relationship issues before they would approach a trusted teacher, counsellor, coach, or parent.
At Carihi Secondary School, in Campbell River, British Columbia, there is a very active peer counselling program modeled on The Peer Counselling project from The University of Victoria (Carr & Sounders, 1980). Our program has been very successfully operated using the continual introduction of new materials and differing approaches for training methods. Over the past five years, groups of dynamic and committed young people have taken part in a wide variety of activities and have shared many meaningful experiences. In turn, efforts to reach out to a greater number of students led to the evolution of the concept of the Teen Hot Line. The writer's belief was that if there was a trained and dedicated group of young people to volunteer their time in the evenings to man a confidential telephone line, then troubled youths would be encouraged to call for help and advice.
Prior to the start of the hot line, it was necessary to proceed through several steps including administration of a confidential survey to a random number of students at the four secondary schools in town soliciting suggestions and opinions on a …