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More teens calling Arizona hotline for help during coronavirus crisis

(Facebook Photo/Teen Lifeline)

PHOENIX — The national helpline for emotional support has jumped 891% in call volume compared to this time last year as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

An Arizona-based teen hotline also has reported an increase in requests for service.

“I know that for us locally with the teens, as well as the other Arizona based crisis lines we have all seen an increase of services,” Nikki Kuntz, clinical director with Teen Lifeline, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“I can tell you just anecdotally we’re looking at a 10% increase of what we would have thought we would normally during this time of year.”

Teen Lifeline believes it may be less immediate for teenagers as it is for adults, but the more time people are asked to stay home the more they are needing to reach out.

The statewide hotline saw that immediately with their texting services.

“Kids are home with their parents so they don’t want to talk as much, but they are able to text,” Kuntz said.

Because of that, Teen Lifeline opened up its texting hotline services three hours earlier during weekdays knowing kids are now at home needing a way to reach out.

But what are they upset about? Kuntz described it as acute problems.

“These kids are in a different level of crisis – they are dealing with long term mental health stuff they have been struggling with,” Kuntz said. “They recognize they don’t have their normal avenues for reaching out for help that they’ve been taught and now they’re trying to find a way to fulfill that.”

Teen Lifeline expects the longer schools remain closed the more it will be reached out to for help.

The hotline will offer service both by texting and talking over the phone at 602-248-TEEN.

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