“He was in desperate need of direct medical attention,” Peer Counselor Jackman recalled about one of his most memorable calls.
Jackman received the Peer of the Year award this year at the Connections of Hope gala that took place on Oct. 9. The award recognizes one outstanding Peer Counselor that exemplifies what Teen Lifeline is all about. Last year Jackman volunteered over 1,600 hours, providing a connection of hope to approximately 130 callers.
“At the end of the call,” Jackman continued, “I had encouraged him to call back and let us know how he was feeling. A week went by with no word. Then, one day he finally called and thanked me. He said it was such a tremendous help for himself as well as his family.”
In our almost 30 year history, Peer Counselors like Jackman have been a connection of hope for over 158,000 troubled youth on the hotline. Teen Lifeline doesn’t just help its callers though, it helps the Peer Counselors, too.
“Peers and staff at Teen Lifeline are so dedicated to making sure that everyone that volunteers here is taken care of and loved on an immeasurable scale,” Jackman said. “Teen Lifeline has impacted my life by helping me to overcome the problems that I faced in my personal life like: depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, and family issues.”
It takes a minimum of 72 hours to train a Peer Counselor. It is an immense commitment that these teens undertake. They not only take the time to learn from Master’s level clinicians, but they give up their evenings and weekends to help teens in crisis. “Hope, is the driving force for everything we do,” Jackman explains. “I smile whenever I think about that memorable call because I know that I truly helped someone overcome an obstacle in their life.”
Shifting his focus, Jackman continued, “There is a strong chance that your children, or the children of someone else you know will have suicidal thoughts before they graduate high school. Donate or support Teen Lifeline, not for your benefit, but for the benefit of them and their peers.”
You can be a connection of hope in a variety of ways. Your impact can be felt by simply sharing our information on Facebook, Twitter or any social media channel. You can hold a third party fundraiser or pass out materials in your school, work or social meeting. Monetary donations help keep our doors open, but spreading awareness of our support system guarantees one more teen doesn’t have to feel helpless or hopeless.
“I want everyone to know they are not alone. On the other end of the line is someone that truly cares about your well-being and wants you to be happy,” Jackman adds, “No matter who answers the phone, they will not judge you or your problems. Peer Counselors are here to help and would be more than happy to talk about whatever you need to talk about.”