There are any number of reasons why, but the troubling fact is that suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10-24. Many adolescents and children struggle with their mental health and even thoughts of suicide, which at times can include planning exactly how they would kill themselves.
PRS CrisisLink, based in Virginia, offers them a safe place to express these thoughts and feelings, offering a 24-hour-7 days a week chat or call hotline for individuals in crisis.
The PRS chatline offers crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and support to individuals by providing problem-solving skills and information on resources so chatters can better cope with emotional trauma, personal and family crises. PRS operates the lifeline for the state of Virginia, and also handles calls that rollover from other parts of the country when volume is particularly high.
PRS is a nonprofit providing behavioral health, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. PRS provides programming to prevent crises from occurring, intervene when they do, and assist those who lose loved ones to suicide or another sudden and traumatic loss.
The chat option has proven particularly valuable for connecting with young people, says Laura Mayer, program director, PRS Crisis Link. “We answer predominantly youth in that space .. the 13 to 24 year olds who are more comfortable using chat rather than the telephone to connect with us. We’ve been doing that for the past few years.”
The isolation of the past couple of years, including schools that temporarily shut down, has led to a heightened community concern for how young people are experiencing life these days, says Mayer.
“Crisis centers are an excellent barometer for youth. We get a lot of information and data that is not necessarily available to other places where more rules might be in place. And what we’re seeing is that more children than ever before are experiencing trauma and having suicidal thoughts as a result,” says Mayer.
In addition to providing a place where a troubled individual can talk or chat with an empathic person, the people working the PRS CrisisLink hotline will provide resources and locate referrals for mental health and other community services.
In addition to suicide prevention, the hotline also is available to communicate about a wide range of other problems such as relationship difficulties, family problems, finding helping after a crisis, information on mental illness, homelessness, abuse/violence, depression and sexual orientation issues, to name a few.
If you are concerned about your family, or know of another family in crisis, the PRS CrisisLink is available to connect you with existing resources to provide help. Contact them 24/7 in any of the following ways: by calling 800-273-TALK , Texting “CONNECT” to 855-11, or via the Lifeline Chat: SuicidePreventionLifeline.org/chat