Many times teens in crisis prefer to talk to someone who understands their feelings and can relate to their issues, another teen. However, numerous teens cannot confide in their friends due to trust issues and a fear of embarrassment. TEEN LINE, an anonymous and free hotline, trains volunteers to listen to their peers’ feelings, educate the caller about options, and encourage positive decisions.
Teens worldwide call in as they struggle with problems involving pregnancy, abuse, depression, drug abuse, relationships, eating disorders, sexual orientation and homelessness. Every year more than 10,000 teens call TEEN LINE and over 30,000 individuals attend TEEN LINE outreach presentations. Elaine Leader, Ph.D., the executive director of TEEN LINE says, “Our program provides a safe, confidential way for teens to talk things out with a peer who can understand and who will listen, but not judge.”
As listeners, we aim to promote individuality and help the caller distinguish between the right and wrong choice. At TEEN LINE we do not give advice; we firmly believe that callers, themselves, know the answer to their problems and have the capability to make their own decisions. Opening myself up to others has influenced me in ways I never could understand if not for TEEN LINE. I have gained the skills and capability to strengthen others in times when they cannot see their own potential. TEEN LINE has educated me on how to help my peers battle the difficulties in their lives in a non-judgmental and trusting manner. I’ve learned how to listen with an open heart and I now can better deal with issues that I formerly found more difficult.
By listening to and educating callers, TEEN LINE saves the lives of suicidal teens, teens that are being abused, or teens that are just hurting themselves. Some teens call back later thanking us for being there when they needed help. One teen said, “You make me feel comfortable and allow me to talk about what is going on. I have tried calling other hotlines, but it isn’t the same because you guys are teens”. Little comments like this let us know that we are making a difference, one call at a time.
-TEEN LINE LISTENER
Biography of TEEN LINE
TEEN LINE is a non profit organization that is open from 6-10 pm PST every night. The national hotline number is (310) 855-4673 and our toll free California number is (800) 852-8336. If a teen prefers not to call in, other alternatives are available for teens to access TEEN LINE such as email and online live chat available on our website. For more information about TEEN LINE, how to make a donation, or how to arrange an outreach please visit our website at www.teenlineonline.org