Launch of Child Helpline ‘Guana Chat’ on St. Eustatius
On the 16th of March a child helpline ‘Guana Chat 918’ will be launched on St. Eustatius aimed at children and youngsters from 8 to 21 years old. It is a telephone helpline for children and young people who are looking for information about any topic they may have questions about. Calls to this service are free and anonymous.
The Guana Chat helpline is a collaboration between the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) and Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), the Public Entity of St. Eustatius and the child helpline of Aruba, ‘Telefon pa Hubentud’. The staff answering the calls are mentors who have followed appropriate training and have also undergone extensive cultural training by the team of social workers on St. Eustatius. Youths can talk with these trained mentors about any topic or question they may have. Or just to share an experience.
State Secretary Van Ooijen (VWS): "It is great that this helpline is there now. It is so important that children and young people have someplace to turn when they are worried or have questions. A listening ear can sometimes make a big difference. My hope is that this will make it more the norm to talk about something when you have a problem. With these kinds of easily accessible facilities, we want to contribute to the mental fitness of the youth throughout the Kingdom."
Starting the 16th of March the free telephone number 918 will be available every day between 2 and 6 pm. The website www.guanachat918.com gives information on the use of the helpline and the different topics children and young people want to talk about. The social support team of Statia Government and Mega D Youth Foundation will visit the secondary school and all classes 5 to 8 of the primary schools on St. Eustatius to inform the pupils about this helpline and guide them through the website.