Dr G - the service is supported by experts from Community and Public Health, Canterbury District Health Board - has been discontinued. Read our final questions for Dr G. If you need help with health, sexual health or relationship issues, check our page on health services for young people in Christchurch. Thanks to Dr G for years of providing helpful answers to life’s tricky problems.
The History of Dr G
Back in 2003, the Christchurch City Libraries website for teens the Pulse – te Auaha was launched, and a key resource it provided was Dr Goodlove, an innovative service answering questions on health, sexuality, and relationships. Dr G was administered by Community and Public Health experts from the Canterbury District Health Board.
Teens asked Dr G questions, and had then the questions and answers were posted on the website. The Q&A were divided up into topics, giving teens a place to get useful advice, and to learn that they weren’t alone with their problems.
Back in 2003, Dr G did a live chat with questions coming in. More recently, the users could choose to get answers published to the website or sent to their email addresses.
The young people who used the service always appreciated Dr G’s frankness, honesty, and good advice. After fourteen years – an epoch in time on the web - questions for Dr G have slowed down as teens get their information from other sources. It’s time to move on, but we will retain their helpful information on topics like the emergency contraceptive pill, pornography, and sexual health.
Our last questions for Dr G
Dear Dr G, you’ve answered hundreds of questions. What’s the most common issue you’ve noticed?
I have answered a huge variety of questions but probably one of the most common was "Am I pregnant? " Of course I couldn't tell if someone was pregnant or not, but it seemed to help the person to have someone to "talk" with online when a period was late or they had done something they knew could result in a pregnancy. And it was anonymous of course so it was easier than fronting up to someone initially at least. Sometimes I could just reassure them that from what they told me it was unlikely they were pregnant, but in the end they would need to take a pregnancy test to know for sure.
The other common one was questions around being gay or lesbian. These came in a variety of forms e.g. " Why am I gay? Could I be a lesbian? Why do my friends say I'm gay? I am really attracted to my best friend." Again it was usually about reassuring the person that whatever their sexual orientation it was fine and to let them know some good websites or other resources to explore to find out more. Also that they didn't need to make a decision until they were ready to, that it would become clear to them in time. Again, I hope I was a safe person who they could confide in and always get a positive response.
Fourteen years ago, were the main concerns of teens different from today?
I think there were more questions about relationships issues back then, mainly about girlfriends/boyfriends but also friendships and family relationships. I still get a few of these but a lot less so there must be another good site out there somewhere that answers these questions now. I'd like to think people have less problems now but I doubt that! The more recent questions have been mostly sexual health related issues.
What were the most surprising questions you got?
I've had a lot of surprising questions including about fetishes, how soon new born babies could go on planes, the cost of adult circumcision etc ... the vast majority of questions were very genuine and I do feel very privileged that young people have shared their concerns with me so openly over the years. It has certainly left me feeling very positive about young people. The future is in good hands!
What are the sources you recommend for teens looking for help on relationship and sexual health issues?
I would recommend Just the Facts which is a great website for information about sexual health. It is backed by the Ministry of Health so you can trust that the information is correct. It also covers relationships, sexual abuse and sexual assault and where you can go for help. Rainbow Youth also have a good website for queer and gender diverse young people. I hope this helps.