Arizona’s Teen Lifeline says calls have increased 50% since the pandemic began

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 9:10am
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 9:47am

Arizona’s Teen Lifeline is exactly that for young people who are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety or thoughts of self-harm. So, what is the organization is seeing right now?

Since the start of the pandemic, the Teen Lifeline has seen an uptick in calls and texts.

"We've had a 50% increase since the beginning of the pandemic," said Nikki Kontz, clinical director for Teen Lifeline.

The good news, she says, is that more kids know that it’s OK to reach out for help. Still, as life returns to some semblance of normal, young people are still struggling. 

"Every year, between spring break, and the end of the school year, are some of the most stressful times for kids," she said.

Finals are around the corner and grades will be due. And for some the prospect of summer is stressful.

"It is a time where maybe they're not with their friends, or, again, they're more isolated, because school is the place that they have that social interaction," said Kontz.

And it’s not just happening in Arizona. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 44% of high school kids felt sad or hopeless during the past year. 

Teens who are struggling with thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety or who just need someone to talk with are encouraged to call the Teen Lifeline hotline at 602-248-8336 or 800-248-8336. The 24-hour service is staffed by teen peer counselors daily from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. daily, including holidays. Trained counselors are available at all other times. Teens can also text the hotline between the hours of noon and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends.

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