- To provide a safe, confidential, and crucial crisis service where teens help teens make healthy decisions together.
- To impact the devastating problem of teen suicide in Arizona so that any teen, at any time, will have knowledge of and access to Teen Lifeline, its counselors and services.
Teen Lifeline started after a movie, Surviving staring Molly Ringwald, aired on prime time network television in 1985. The movie was quite controversial because it was the first time teen suicide had been portrayed in such a public way. The movie made the cover of People Magazine and was instrumental in beginning public conversations about teen suicide. As a result, mental health agencies began to look at the problem of teen suicide. It was then discovered that Arizona’s teen suicide rate was double the national average. Arizona ranked second in the nation for the rate of teen suicide.
Something needed to be done, so Teen Lifeline was developed as an innovative solution to address teen suicide in the Phoenix area.
- Through a grant from the McKesson Foundation, Teen Lifeline began in 1986 as a program of Phoenix South Community Mental Health Center and was a school based program in Central High School located in Phoenix.
- In 1988, the training was decentralized and we began recruiting teens from all over the valley.
- In 1991, through a grant from the Marshall Fund of Arizona, Teen Lifeline began serving the entire State of Arizona through a toll free number.
- In 1996, Teen Lifeline lost its state prevention funding and spun off from Southwest Behavioral Health and merged with TERROS.
- In 1997, assumed the Peer Mediation Program from TERROS.
- In 1998, began an HIV/Peer Education Program through a grant from the Department of Education.
- In 1999, Teen Lifeline received its 501(c)3 designation from the federal government.
- On January 1, 2000 Teen Lifeline became a free standing non-profit organization.
- In 2000, began Teen Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week with support from SLHI.
- In 2003, Teen Lifeline was the first Peer Counseling Hotline to receive accreditation through the American Association of Suicidology.
- In 2003, developed a new branding an advertising campaign.
- In 2003, received certification from the National Peer Helpers Association.
- In 2006, re-accredited by the American Association of Suicidology.
- In 2008, launched the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program.
- In 2009, the Crisis Response Network began taking after-hours calls.
- In 2011, re-accredited by the American Association of Suicidology.
- In 2012, Teen Lifeline launched its Facebook page as one of the early pioneers to provide awareness and education through this medium.
- In 2013, Teen Lifeline launched two Twitter feeds @602248TEEN and @800248TEEN
- In 2015, Teen Lifeline launched an Instagram account: @teen_lifeline
- in 2016, celebrated 30 years of help and hope in Arizona!
Now in our 30th year, Teen Lifeline has grown in size and impact. But our focus on our mission has remained steadfast; to end teen suicide, to provide a “connection of hope” to teens in crisis and to empower our youth to make healthy decisions.