ARIZONA NEWS

Program helps Arizona teens connect with peers who are dealing with mental health crisis

Jun 21, 2023, 4:35 AM

FILE - A man uses a cell phone in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019.  People in crisis and those trying to...

FILE - A man uses a cell phone in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. People in crisis and those trying to help them will have a new three-digit number, 988, to reach the national suicide prevention network starting in July. Federal health officials on Monday are announcing more than $280 million to smooth the transition from the current 10-digit number. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)


PHOENIX — Arizona-based suicide prevention nonprofit, “Teen Lifeline,” is implementing a first-of-its-kind program that it hopes will save children’s lives.

The “Caring Contacts” program has been around for decades helping adults to prevent suicide attempts and mental health crisis intervention, but this is the first time a peer-to-peer program has been used for kids younger than 18 years old.

Nikki Kontz, clinical director for “Teen Lifeline,” said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM that similar adult programs have drastically decreased suicide deaths and additional hospitalizations.

Kontz said trained teenage volunteers reach out to other teens who have been discharged from the hospital following a suicide attempt to check in and offer support.

Teens who have undergone a mental health crisis can opt into the program while in the hospital and peer counselors will reach out within 24-48 hours and have regular contact for a year.

“It’s always contact from a peer counselor who’s their own age, who knows what it’s like to be a teen, but someone just to say ‘Hey, I’m rooting for you. If you need someone to talk, I’m here. You’re not alone, even when things are really scary,” Kontz said in an interview.

Kontz said this allows teens who are struggling with mental health issues to feel more comfortable and speak openly.

“There’s a natural rapport that comes between two teenagers talking that’s much harder for an adult and a teen to build. So, that natural connection that exists for them is often times so huge, especially coming out of a crisis,” Kontz said.

The program is free to use and is funded through Mercy Care. To learn more about this program or receive support, call the Teen Lifeline hotline at (602) 248-8336 or visit: https://teenlifeline.org/

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A promotional graphic for “The Marley Brothers: The Legacy Tour” shows Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, ...

Kevin Stone

The Marley Brothers announce Phoenix stop as part of tour to celebrate Bob Marley’s music

Fans of reggae legend Bob Marley can “Get Up, Stand Up” in Phoenix this summer when The Marley Brothers celebrate their father’s music.

32 minutes ago

Photo illustration of cryptocurrency in front of price chart on a computer. Arizona has entered int...

Kevin Stone

Arizona enters into multistate settlement with TradeStation over crypto investment program

Arizona has entered into a $1.5 million multistate settlement with TradeStation over a crypto interest-earning program.

2 hours ago

Headshots of Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, left, and Liz Archuleta, whom Hobbs appointed to the Arizona...

Kevin Stone

Gov. Katie Hobbs makes her first appointments to Arizona Board of Regents

Gov. Katie Hobbs recently made her first appointments to the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s three public universities.

3 hours ago

Aerial view of Salt Lake City temple....

KTAR.com

Here’s where the next Arizona temple will be for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled plans last week to build a new temple in Arizona as part of a global expansion.

4 hours ago

Icess Woodcox is accused of fatally stabbing a member of her family over the weekend in west Phoeni...

KTAR.com

Elderly woman fatally stabbed over the weekend in west Phoenix

A woman reported that she stabbed another woman at a residence near Thomas Road and 51st Avenue in Phoenix on Sunday.

6 hours ago

...

Sponsored Content by Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Program helps Arizona teens connect with peers who are dealing with mental health crisis