Connecting Arizona Youth to Hope
Teen Lifeline provides a safe, confidential, and crucial crisis intervention service for Arizona teens. The agency fulfills its mission to prevent teenage suicide through enhancing resiliency in youth and fostering supportive communities. This is accomplished, in part, through a peer-to-peer crisis hotline and text messaging service that is supervised by master’s level clinicians.
The hotline provides a safe way for teens to talk to other teens about thoughts of suicide, depression, trouble at school, fights with a significant other or family issues. Volunteers are truly a connection of hope to troubled young people who are reaching out as a last resort, or sometimes, just to talk to someone who cares.
On average, one out of every three calls and texts is from a teen considering suicide.
The hotline is answered 24/7/365. Trained, volunteer peer counselors between the ages of 15-19 answer calls for help from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline is answered before 3 p.m. and after 9 p.m. by an adult crisis counselor at the Crisis Response Network.
Teen Lifeline peer counselors have been answering calls from troubled teens since 1986. It is the only peer-to-peer crisis hotline in Arizona and was the first in the nation to receive Crisis Center Accreditation from the American Association of Suicidology.
More than 80% of all calls have a positive outcome where callers report their problem is now manageable as a result of talking to a teen peer counselor. Most callers also report that they feel better because of the call and are more hopeful for the future.
Each teen volunteer receives a minimum of 72 hours of intensive life skills development training before beginning to work the hotline. This training often changes the behavior and career goals of the teen volunteers as they demonstrate their experience through their interactions with others at home, at school and eventually in the workforce.
While a minimum of 15 hours of service per month is required, many of the volunteers far exceed that measure. Last year, teens donated more than 19,000 hours of service at Teen Lifeline.
Peer counselors spend an average of 3.5 years volunteering with Teen Lifeline.
Teen Lifeline is also invested in preventing youth suicide through education, following a three-prong approach:
1. Conducting life-saving prevention classroom workshops statewide for students in grades 6-12 at no cost to schools. These presentations encourage:
- cultivating healthy coping skills,
- building communities,
- help-seeking behaviors, and
- identifying warning signs.
2. Education programs for school personnel working with students in grades 6-12 to meet the recently enacted Arizona mandate for educator and support staff training regarding suicide prevention. These programs are provided free to schools, enabling educators a way to comply with Arizona law at no additional cost.
3. Youth suicide awareness and prevention training for parents, professional and civic organizations, employers, and the community. It only takes one person to save a life. Teen Lifeline prevention staff work to make sure training is widely available.