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News : Teens Help Teens Through Lines for Life Program
Portland, OR, USA, Feb 10, 2016 -- Local teens are helping other teenagers get through tough times as Lines for Life has expanded their YouthLine call center over the last few months.
The group says it needs more young volunteers to handle the increase in calls from young people in crisis.
Volunteer Bridget Biber has come to learn that a conversation can make all the difference while manning the phones and computers at YouthLine.
"Sometimes I understand how they just need someone to talk to," Biber explains. "Some people just call in just because they need to vent or just cause they need someone to listen to them."
Teens in crisis can call, text or chat with volunteers at YouthLine.
Volunteers listen, help callers work through their options and point them toward resources.
Biber 16, draws from her own experience.
"Many teens, when they call in, they feel like they're at a dead end point. No one understands them, they have no one to turn to, and their world was just ended," she said. "When I was essentially homeless for a large period of my freshman year when I was 14, I was in that same spot. I didn't really have anyone to talk to."
Biber noted helping others is gratifying, and that her personal experience can help her connect with teens on the other end of the line.
"I can say, ‘you know, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, you can get through this," she said.
Young people call or chat to youth line volunteers about a multitude of problems, from depression and suicidal thoughts to stress and anxiety.
Program manager Emily Moser explained that teen volunteers make a big difference.
"They connect to the issues and I believe can build rapport faster and create a level of trust," Moser said. "That means it's easier to talk to another teenagers."
Biber believes this service would have helped her through her struggles, and she encourages other teens to take advantage of it.
"They’re relieved just to be listened to, I would say is the main part," she explained. "And just listen to suggestions about how they may go about tackling their crisis."
Teens looking for help can call 1-877-968-8491 or text "teen2teen" to 839863. The number is 24/7 and teens are available seven days a week from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, February 12, 2016