How Can Texting Help Teens Struggling With Mental Health Issues?

If you’re a teen struggling with feelings of distress and hopelessness, help might be literally at your fingertips.

New York City is launching a pilot program called NYC Teen Text to help young people get access to free, confidential, convenient counseling. First Lady Chirlane Mccray, her daughter, Chiara de Blasio and First Deputy Commissioner Oxiris Barbot announced the initiative last week, which will begin as a pilot program in ten schools across the city.

NYC Department of Health And Mental Hygiene

Here’s how it works: Teens at the participating schools can text “NYC Teen” to 65173 if they’re feeling sad or stressed. They’ll instantly be connected with a counselor from the program’s network of over 2,000 providers who can give them emotional support. It’s really that easy.

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The initiative seeks to amplify the voices of young people in the conversation on mental health. According to the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 27 percent of New York City public high school students said they felt “sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks,” and “only 18 percent of these students received help from a counselor.” Texting, therefore, could be a more comfortable, convenient approach for distressed teens.

If the program is a success, it’ll be expanded to schools throughout the city. We hope the initiative inspires towns and cities across the U.S. to create innovative mental health programs for teens and people of all ages.

If you or a friend wants someone to talk to about depression, visit for resources.


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