In July, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Teen Line!
Years founded: 1980
Leadership: After working with teens, Dr. Elaine Leader and Dr. Terry Lipton saw a need for more inclusive adolescent mental health and founded Teen Line. Dr. Leader has won numerous awards for her work in mental health, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Award in 2000.
Issue they address: teen mental health and suicide.
What they do: provide teenagers across the country with an anonymous, non-judgmental space to talk about their problems with highly trained teens, who are supervised by adult mental health professionals.
How they do it:
A peer-to-peer hotline: teens can call, text or email to speak with a peer.
Volunteer training: The teen “listeners” on the line are LA high school students who complete 65 hours of training on topics like active listening and empathy.
Education: provide resources and information to caregivers, schools and other youth organizations about teen mental health.
Teen Line was founded by mental health professionals over 35 years ago, based on research that when teens are struggling, they’re more likely to reach out to a peer. Tens of thousands of teens call and text the hotline each year with issues ranging from a fight with a friend to thoughts of suicide. The unique hotline is a safe, anonymous space where teens can open up, speak freely to peers, and get connected to resources.
1 in 5 teens struggle with their mental health, and issues with anxiety, depression and suicide have been on the rise for the past decade (prior to the pandemic!).
It’s likely not one thing, but a combination of many.
This Atlantic article suggests several factors at play, including social media use, a decline in real-world social interactions, a feeling the world is more stressful, and parenting strategies.
Just like there is no one cause, there is no one solution. We’re going to need a lot of different strategies to address teen mental health, and supporting Teen Line’s unique peer-to-peer model is one way to help teens cope!
As of July, the new, shorter number is live nationwide and will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s a little easier to remember than the previous Lifeline number…1-800-273-8255 🙂
People can call, text or chat the 988 number 24/7 to be connected to trained counselors for support and additional resources. The hope is that this will also decrease the number of people who call 911 during a mental health crisis.
If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Mental Health cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit working to make the world a healthier place.