Helpline launched for troubled teens

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The Independent Online

Thousands of troubled teenagers who have slipped unnoticed through the net are being urged to use a new £457m government-funded helpline service.

Thousands of troubled teenagers who have slipped unnoticed through the net are being urged to use a new £457m government-funded helpline service.

Connexions Direct – to be launched tomorrow – aims to give hope and help to all teenagers but particularly to the 10 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds – around 123,000 in total – who drop out of school without qualifications or a job.

A network of 11,500 staff – 6,600 of whom are personal advisers with expertise in drugs, alcohol and relationship counselling – are on the front line in 47 areas up and down the country. As well as giving confidential advice to young people, the service will also give practical help about jobs and training by phone, email or text message.

Connexions Direct is the first service of its kind in the UK and has been launched as part of a continuing drive by the Government to end social deprivation, particularly among young people, and to equip people with the skills they need for life and work.

"The strapline for the campaign – 'Let's talk about you' – conveys that we want to reach out to all four million teenagers in Britain at a time and a place of their choosing," said a spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills. "Either at school or college, in high street one-stop shops, by confidential phone line, text messaging or email, the service is open 365 days a year."

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