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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Advice on the wire: peers will soon be available on a regular basis

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Young people between the ages of 16 and 21 will be available to talk to their peers via chat. To do this, they were trained and prepared in terms of content by experienced Rat auf Wire employees. However, experienced supporters are still available.

Apparently a successful approach

“The demand for this exchange with peers is very high. It has been shown that our approach, that it is easier for many young people to confide in people who are perhaps going through the same things or have just experienced them, is correct “, says Christine Piriwe, content-related project manager of the peer counseling and long-standing advisor to the emergency number 147 from Rat auf Wire. The previous success rate also speaks for it, it is 89 percent. “We speak of a successful consultation when a person who is contacting us for the first time finds the support helpful or when the person has received information about their request that was not previously known or accessible to them,” explained Birgit Satke, manager of the emergency number 147. In addition, the pilot project was awarded the Austrian Youth Prize in the category “national youth work” last year.

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For this reason, peer counseling will be offered twice a month in the future. The number of young counselors was increased from four to seven. The range of topics is also growing: while there was advice on the topics of sexting, cyber grooming and sexual harassment online in the pilot phase, there are now so-called topic chats. “The first chat in February will be about lovesickness and relationships. In general, the topic chats deal with what young people are currently dealing with,” says Piriwe.

The long-term goal is to be able to offer peer counseling on a permanent basis; weekly chats are planned from autumn 2023. “The need is definitely there. However, this requires financial support,” says Satke. One third of the funding for the entire Rat auf Wire advisory service comes from the public sector. However, these are not sufficient to ensure permanent existence. The rest is financed by donations.

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Additional peer advisors will also be sought from autumn. Interested parties can already apply for the new round. All information about it and for peer counseling in general.

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