BEND, Ore. - Mental health-related issues are on the rise across the country, and Central Oregon is not immune. An organization is hoping to help one of the most vulnerable demographics: our youth.
Lines for Life is a Portland based nonprofit working to prevent substance abuse and suicide. It is trying to bring one of its programs, YouthLine, to Central Oregon. The organization tackles issues such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide among teens, with unique peer-to-peer counseling.
“There’s no doubt kids feel much more comfortable talking to a peer about these issues, and online or texting is, kind of, how they like to communicate,” Patty Buehler, a board member for Lines of Life, said Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states suicide rates among teens has risen significantly from 2007 to 2015. The rate for boys age 15-19 has increased, while the rate for girls has doubled.
“We think that probably with social media, even though there’s more sociableness, there’s also some bullying going on and anxiety that develops from people being on social media,” Buehler said.
More than 10,000 calls and texts were received through YouthLine last year.
“It’s for people that are being bullied, people that have questions about relationship issues, having problems with their parents. Anything that’s giving them anxiety,” Buehler said.
In addition to the crisis hotline, there would also be classroom outreach helping reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and normalizing seeking help.
Lines for Life hopes to get the YouthLine program started in Central Oregon by Spring 2018. It has $60,000 committed for the first year and are looking to double that amount.
More information can be found at this link: