Youth are struggling; can technology help?

If you walk into a caféor catch a bus downtown, chances are the majority of folks will be on a mobile device.

On the surface, it looks as though many people are disconnected, but the reality is we are more connected than ever. Many individuals can be reached at any time, no matter where they’re going.

We can reach out to folks well outside of our physical radius. However, if we're not mindful, this may play into an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and even isolation.

Nowadays, many teens navigate life through their mobile devices, too. The majority of young people connect through means such as texting, social media, and other digital methods.

While many adults question whether this is healthy for our youth, it’s important to recognize ways we can still form meaningful connections in a digital age.

Crisis Connections hears that from many young people in the community and is working hard to provide the support that is most comfortable for them.

Their program, Teen Link, was born over 20 years ago, after the daughter of a former Crisis Connections’employee was murdered at the hands of an abusive partner.

Her mother recognized the difference connection could make but found that many teens, like her daughter, struggled to connect with adults about the challenges they faced.

She worked with the agency to create a youth-driven program, where teens could talk to other teens to get support and find youth-friendly resources.

“Teen Link is a wonderful and open network of teens where conversation regarding important and relevant topics of mental health can be instigated and sustained in a healthy manner,” says volunteer youth Crisis SpecialistKatie.

Teen Link answers calls and chats from youth all over the state of Washington; however, despite growing signs of our youth struggling with mental health challenges, calls to this line remain consistent.

In 2018, Teen Link answered 2,759 calls and chats; however, only years before, this number broke 3,000 calls and chats.

Crisis Connections recognizes that this may be because calls are not the primary method of communication for youth, which is why they are expanding access to support and resources by opening texting as a way to communicate with this youth program.

“Because many teens enjoy and spend significant amounts of time on their phones, I believe bringing a texting function to TeenLink will make it more approachable,” Katie said. “In turn, this will make teen access to emotional support more available and normalized.”

Crisis Connections is excited to announce that texting Teen Link is now available for our youth every day from 6-9:30 pm.

Learn more about this by visiting you are struggling, you are not alone.


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