The importance of texting for the younger generation was the program topic for HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties at their annual meeting last week, held at The Barn at Stratford in Delaware. Volunteers, board members and their guests were invited to get out their Smart Phones and play along with a game of guessing HelpLine’s key 2016 statistics.
Chemical Dependency Counselor, Social Worker, and OSU Professor, Jennifer Haywood spoke about the communication style and culture of youth and college age people. She said you can see them walking with heads down, on their phones as they come into a room. She added that it seems like an addiction or compulsion with using phones.
Haywood said that the young people she works with struggle with verbal communication and making eye contact. She’s pleased to see HelpLine having one of the first crisis lines to have texting available. This is a new way to embrace the younger generation.
Haywood sees many youth and college age students as having a stressed and perfectionistic quality to their lives. She sees that it’s good to adapt the HelpLine strategies of giving resources and help to their communication style. They may be too scared to call and in some cases it may be safer to text in some of their families.
These young people also have access to hard core drugs and texting may be a way to reach into the underground. Texting can also be an extra link for depressed people.
HelpLine’s Associate Director, Tiana Purvis offered examples of the texting service that began just this summer. She said there were already 85 encounters with individuals in the first four months. Texting has proven to be a good way to get resource information to callers. There were even some texts that came in the night from students who were being bullied.
HelpLine Director, Sue Hanson spoke of the 2016 theme: Connecting people for change.” She said it has been their purpose to empower people through knowledge and resources and not to judge or blame.
Numbers tell much of the story of HelpLine’s connections in 2016. There were 30,569 contacts for teaching violence and suicide prevention skills; 2,742 children and teens learned skills to prevent family and sexual violence; 4,287 middle and high school students were educated about and screened for depression and suicide.
You can now text HelpLine at: 898211.
There were 24,862 needs identified by callers, 11,333 referrals provided for getting and giving help. 1,028 contacts were made to ensure safety and resource linkage for individuals at risk for suicide. HelpLine responded to over 14,367 needs related to emotional crisis, depression, suicide, sexual assault and substance abuse. Volunteers logged 18,211 hours of service. This saved $401,735 community dollars in personnel costs.
Officers and board members were approved for the coming year. They include Sarah Smith, Board Chairman; Sherry Barbosky, Vice Chairman; Heather Nicholson, Secretary and Keith Boger, Treasurer. Other board members include: Jeanna Jacobus, Kim Liang, Marcus Matson, Russell Walker and Wendy Piper. Allen Stojkovic was recognized for his four years on the board.
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