Teens find it easier to text rather than call suicide prevention - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Teens find it easier to text rather than call suicide prevention organizations

(Source: AP Graphics Bank) (Source: AP Graphics Bank)
WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) -

Most teens find texting much easier than talking on the phone. Unfortunately, for those with suicidal thoughts, calling a prevention hotline might be difficult. That is why suicide prevention organizations are changing with the times.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers text messaging outreach for teens at many crisis centers nationwide.

According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 40 percent of people in need of help felt they would not be comfortable enough communicating by a phone call.

Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman with America Foundation for Suicide Prevention said teens’ emotions become crystal clear in a text conversation, unlike a phone conversation.

Texting can also be a dangerous getaway for teens who do not know how to talk in-person about their problems.

Dr. Harkavy-Friedman said some parents found signs of distress when they looked through their teen’s cell phone after a suicide.

Marc Wilson, a licensed social worker at Families Inc. in Walnut Ridge, said it is easier for teens to text their emotions because of the privacy and convenience.

“You know, a lot of times kids in class can’t talk on the phone, but they can text,” Wilson said. “If they’re in the car with mom, they can’t necessarily talk about things that are private. They can text things. So, I think that we’re in the generation now where more teenagers are going to be texting and saying things.”

Wilson said that suicidal thoughts can be triggered by a teen’s environment and different stress factors, like family issues and relationships, which is why it is important for parents to monitor their child’s phone closely.

“It’s hard as parents to understand some of the things, hash tags, and remarks that they say in their text,” Wilson said.

 Organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offer chat services on their website. 

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