Mission: Teen Lifeline was established in 1986 to impact the devastating problem of teen suicide through a free, confidential, peer supported hotline and life skills development that empowers Arizona's youth to reach their full potential. The core of Teen Lifeline is its Peer Counseling Hotline which provides troubled youth throughout Arizona the opportunity to access immediate help from a Peer Counselor 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Teen Lifeline is the only Peer Counseling Hotline in Arizona and one of only 32 nation-wide. Each year, Teen Lifeline receives more than 12,000 calls for help from youth ranging in age from 8 to 22. Calls are answered by Peer Counselors who receive a minimum of 72 hours of training and are supervised at all times by a master's level behavioral health clinician. The training and staff support allow these volunteers to confidently help other teens resolve problems ranging from school problems and relationship issues to suicide, dating violence, and being a victim of abuse. By providing a free, confidential service, which is available to address any issues that a teen may be facing, Teen Lifeline helps prevent unresolved problems from leading a youth to consider suicide as an option. In October 2003, Teen Lifeline received Crisis Intervention Program Certification through the American Association of Suicidology and was the first peer counseling hotline to receive such certification. One of the core values of AAS is that every citizen has the basic right to necessary assistance in life threatening or other crises. This value reflects the basic philosophy that an active intervention must be done in life threatening situations. AAS certification assures the community that the services provided by Teen Lifeline adheres to current, nationally recognized best practices standards of care, training and a commitment to quality improvement.
Results: In 2013, Teens Lifeline received 12,757 hotline calls, an increase of 10.3% from 2012. This demonstrates that peer counseling continues to be a critical tool for troubled youth in Arizona. Our Community Education program reached over 36,000 people, providing awareness, education and prevention within the community focusing on various teen issues such as teen suicide, depression and grief. We provided services in 147 schools, 31 community and youth based organizations, 6 corporate business, and 9 conferences. Teen Lifeline has trained 73 new teen volunteers bringing our total to 106 active ten volunteers. All Teen Lifeline Peer Counselors complete the Life Skills Development Program before they can answer any calls.
Target demographics: Youth in Arizona.
Geographic areas served: State of Arizona.
Programs: The peer-to-peer hotline is a 24-hour hotline where teens can call to talk to teens and they can help each other make healthy decisions. Our Life Skills Development program trains the teens to answer the hotline, as well as teaches them skills such as communication, listening and problem-solving (along with other skills) that they will use throughout their lives. Our Community Outreach and Education program teaches teens how to deal with suicide and depression, grief and loss, stress and coping, and bullying. We also have presentations for adults on what to do if you believe a teen is suicidal. Most presentations are free of charge.