A Centers for Disease Control report shows a three-year decline in youth suicide rates for those 24 and younger in Oregon. Data from 2021 indicates that Oregon had the 22nd highest youth suicide rate in the U.S., down from the 11th highest in 2018. Yet, Lane County’s teen suicide rate is the highest among Oregon counties, and 65 percent greater than the national average.

But a program called YouthLine is offering hope. Based in Portland, YouthLine provides immediate support to youth in crisis. The peer-to-peer crisis support line for those who are ages 11 through 20 is one important step toward further reducing Oregon’s youth suicide rates.

YouthLine’s peer support specialists are trained to listen to problems in a nonjudgmental manner, and most teen feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The young crisis support team receives extensive training before they can ever begin answering calls.

YouthLine is shaped on a youth empowerment model that teaches active listening skills. They do not offer advice or tell the caller what to do. They listen carefully and help the caller figure out next steps, including referring them to places where they can get additional help.

YouthLine is available for teens every day from 4 to 10 p.m. (Adult support specialists are available by phone at all other times.)

You can learn more about YouthLine by visiting their website at: https://theyouthline.com/.

Article offered by FCC’s Mental Health Awareness Team