Leaders at organizations that offer crisis lines say the services are a good resource for teens, in addition to adults, who are experiencing distress. That’s significant right now because psychologists sounded the alarm this year that U.S. kids are in the midst of a mental health crisis. This includes increasing rates of depression and suicidal ideation, which were already increasing before the pandemic and made worse during lockdowns and the ensuing isolation.

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a revamped National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which shifted from a 10-digit number to the three-digit 988 (though the original phone number is still in service). Now dubbed The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the resource is a “network of more than 200 state and local call centers” supported by federal funds, according to an HHS news release.

In its first six months of operations, the new number reported handling more than 2 million inquiries.That high volume highlights the demand among U.S. residents, including school-aged children, for mental health support.

The change also introduced the ability for users to text the 988 number for mental health support. Teens may be more likely to reach out for help via text or chat compared to calling, advocates say, and data on the issue backs them up.

More than three-quarters of people who reach out to the Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that provides free mental health support, are under age 25, according to a 2022 analysis by researchers from the University of Rochester, Columbia University and Northwestern University. Nearly 80 percent of texters were female, with about the same proportion of texters dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety. Another 23 percent of texters had thoughts of suicide.

Read the full article about teen mental health by Nadia Tamez-Robledo at EdSurge.