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TEEN LINE was established in 1980 to help troubled teenagers in a way they would accept: teens helping teens. It is our mission to provide a safety net for teenagers before their problems reach a crisis point through our hotline, website and outreaches to youth. We have a unique ability to reach young people because we are a youth-centered program – for teens by teens - marshaling their extraordinary energy and dedication to help their community in their own way. Last year, 145 young people volunteered their time as TEEN LINE Listeners to help the more than 9,000 teens who contacted the hotline.
TEEN LINE is based on the premise that when young people are troubled or anxious, they more naturally turn to their peers for advice, rather to adults. Some teens feel totally alone with their problems, believing that their parents couldn't possibly understand and fearing their friends might laugh or abandon them. TEEN LINE offers another option: a safe haven where they can talk over any kind of problem with another teen who can understand what's going on in their lives and will listen, but not judge them.
Our Community Outreach Program is critically important to TEEN LINE because young people must know about the hotline to call it. In 2009, we spoke to 25,000 through outreaches to students, community groups and law enforcement.
TEEN LINE is an independent 501(c)3 organization. TEEN LINE has been an affiliated program of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since 1980, receiving office space and related expenses but no direct funding. We are certified by the American Association of Suicidology, a rare honor for a non-24 hour hotline. We established a partnership with the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center to answer our emergency suicide calls on a dedicated TEEN LINE telephone line outside our hotline hours. The number of calls included in the regular reports we receive regarding suicide calls to 'our' line underscores the frequency and serious nature of crisis calls to TEEN LINE.