You’ve probably seen the posters around school or had someone talk to you about them at school, but if you haven’t, this post is for you. At a recent meeting Daemond Arindell from Teen Link came to talk to us. We got to ask him questions and learn a lot about Teen Link.
Teen Link is an anonymous 24 hour* crisis line for teens that is answered by teens. They can help you with any problems you have in your everyday life. Okay, so now that you know WHAT Teen Link is here’s basically how the interview went.
DA: It’s a help line, it deals with everything no matter how small. It is anonymous and confidential and you don’t have to give information you don’t want to give. And it is non-judgemental.
TCA: What is a typical call about?
DA: There is no such thing, calls that come in are about everything. There are a lot about relationships with people in general. We are not about giving advice, we are about helping you figure out what you want to talk about.
TCA: How many calls are there usually a night?
DA: It varies. There are usually 5 or 6 calls a night. Sometimes there are lots of calls, sometimes there are no calls. It’s a small program, there’s usually just 2 phone ringers a night.
TCA: Do the people at Teen Link have to go through training?
DA: There is lots of training, we help our volunteers build on natural the natural technique of communication and how to listen. Also how not to be judgemental. There is about 55 hours of training, but it is very helpful.
TCA: How do you keep your cool when someone threatens suicide?
DA: Well, it’s normal to get a little nervous but it’s not your fault. I’d be a little worried if you didn’t get a little scared. The training is pretty in-depth though.
TCA: What is your most memorable experience?
DA: Everything is memorable in its own way, for example the role play we did in training.
TCA: On a scale of 1-10 how depressing are the calls.
DA: It really depends on the call. After every call we explain what was said. So you have a tremendous amount of support. It’s pretty rewarding knowing you helped someone.
TCA: Is it ever hard not to report?
DA: It’s pretty difficult to report since it anonymous, so our focus is really just supporting the caller.
TCA: Do you ever have people who call a lot who you form a relationship with?
DA: You can’t because that creates dependency which is not what we want.
TCA: Has anyone ever committed suicide on the phone?
DA: Not on Teen Link maybe on the crisis line though.
TCA: What do you do during downtime?
DA: There are computers there to use and you can also talk with each other.
TCA: What are the times?
DA: 6-10 pm everyday for the phone line, but there are varying times for the other parts of the program.
TCA: Are there any patterns to the calls?
DA: The days we go to schools we get more calls. And there are lots in spring because there are suicide spikes in that time. This is because it’s nice out and you still feel sad so you start to wonder about that.
TCA: Is there anything else you want to tell us about Teen Link?
DA: Everyone can learn to be a better listener and we will all face a friend going through hard times or it will be us. The skills you learn in this program will help you in your everyday life. Also the requirement to volunteer for the program is you need to be under 20, though sometime we extend the age limit for previous people. Once you age out though, you can do the adult line. There is more training though, and the calls are traced.
So I hope this helped you understand exactly what Teen Link is and remember that if you ever just want to talk or have a problem and want to go to a non-judgemental person call Teen Link.
Here are ways to get more information about Teen Link or how to contact them:
-Kiarra, Teen Center Advisor
*Please see Eric’s comment below for edit.