Introduction of Anonymous Text-a-Tip helps youth with Mental Health Support

The week of April 24, Healthy Communities Healthy Youth of Warren Township-Gurnee will have a public campaign about Text-A-Tip

theYOUjournal Staff

Warren Township is utilizing a program developed by a Lake Forest organization, which aims to help young people at risk.

LEAD’s 24/7 anonymous Text-A-Tip program by the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is dedicated to parents and other adults in the promotion of healthy family relationships and the prevention of alcohol, drug use, and other risky behavior by youth.

LEAD has expanded its program to include all of Lake County, as well as McHenry County. The organization has served the Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood communities for nearly 30 years and now conducts trainings, workshops and presentations for both youth and adults throughout the country.

Text-A-Tip provides a 24/7 anonymous text-communication system to youth needing immediate mental health assistance for themselves or a friend. Members of the community can send a text message to a dedicated number and receive an immediate response from a licensed clinician while remaining completely anonymous.

While Text-A-Tip is available all of Lake County, individual communities are responsible for the public awareness and education about the service. Healthy Communities Healthy Youth of Warren Township-Gurnee will coordinate a public campaign during the week of April 24. During that and following weeks, Districts 121, 50 and 56 will be educating students in grades 6-12 about the Text-A-Tip line.

“As a community, we’ve seen the tragic impact of teen suicide and how youth struggle with the stigma of seeking help,” said Adam Krieger, LCSW, president of Healthy Youth Healthy Communities, Warren Township-Gurnee. “While counseling services may fill a need for some teens, often those at highest risk require something more easily accessible—and a text-line is just that service.”

“Whether struggling with depression, peer pressure, or drug and alcohol abuse, more than 10,000 students in Warren Township can now reach out for help anonymously using their preferred method of communication—text messaging,” said Andy Duran, executive director of LEAD. “The anonymity that Text-A-Tip provides makes it a comfortable place for students to share and provides a safe channel for voicing concerns about themselves and others.”

How It Works:

Each community receives a unique ID which routes messages, in real-time, to a local on-call response team. All messages are sent through an offsite cloaking server that keeps the communication completely anonymous.

Warren Township students can text LAKECO with their message to 274637 and they will receive a response within minutes.

Who Responds to the Texts?

The Response Team for Warren Township consists of licensed/certified mental health professionals from Barrington Behavioral Health & Wellness who are on-call 24/7 to respond to messages. On-call clinicians are responsible for responding appropriately to each communication and for following-up whenever necessary. In the case of a life-threatening condition or criminal activity, emergency responders will be notified.

For more information, visit www.leadingefforts.org or call (847) 295-9075.

 

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