Dashboard: Colorado Crisis Text Line

About the dashboard

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners provides free, confidential, 24/7 counseling to users of Colorado’s text support line. As they work, counselors accumulate demographic info on texters, as well as their reasons for texting. That data is presented in aggregate here, searchable by date range, county and age range.

Our hope is that as text-line usage grows — as a result of the “Below the Surface” campaign and other initiatives — various stakeholders in community health will be able to source valuable information and insights from this dashboard.

Now what?

Below, Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners shares recent trends, observations, suggestions and recommendations based counselors’ experiences with teen texters from El Paso County. It is worth noting that on average, a text conversation includes dozens of messages and lasts for more than 40 minutes.

RMCP updates this section every two months. Data, suggestions, observations and recommendations will never identify any specific individual(s).

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

  • Our overall text utilization across Colorado is up by nearly 60% in just the past 2 months. Much of this is due to using teen influencers in specific communities to share their own stories and champion the texting option. Total teen text utilization in March 2018 was 149 conversations compared to 327 in March 2019, a 219% increase. Total conversations initiated by teens in El Paso County in March 2018 amounted to 35, while 61 conversations were initiated teens in El Paso County in March 2019, an increase of 172%.
  • Teens in El Paso County make up 18% of all teen texters in Colorado. Ninety-three percent (93%) of all texting from teens in El Paso County comes from teens in the ZIP codes feeding into either the first two Below the Surface pilot schools or Academy School District 20. There were no significant utilization changes in any of these ZIP codes during February/March (as compared to December/January), but we again show significant year-over-year increases.
  • As overall teen texting is increasing, we are seeing more variety in presenting concerns. New to the texting discussion are criminal justice involvement, grief associated from loss of a parent, and concerns about seeking care due to fears of being placed on medication and potential side effects. These conversations most often include the words ANGRY, WORRIED, NERVOUS, FAMILY, EMBARRASSMENT, LOSS, and LIFE.

  • More than half of our teen texters are reporting thoughts of self-harm. Our assessment and follow-up of these cases is extensive. De-escalation, connection and crisis management processes are highly effective during suicidal ideation. Counselors did engage a welfare check and mobile crisis dispatch in two situations where safety demanded more immediate and face-to-face intervention.

  • For teens across Colorado, the highest utilization happens around 8 p.m. and on Friday evenings. In El Paso County, where targeted marketing is mature and consistent, teens text consistently on every night of the week and also earlier in the day, with a frequent spike being 3 p.m.

  • We’ve seen an increase from 4% to 11% of teens texting about using marijuana and alcohol to cope with mental health issues. It is important to keep informing teens that texting can help with mental health, substance use and suicidal thoughts.
  • Colorado is ranked No. 25 by the national texting line re: bullying discussions in texts. We do not hear of bullying frequently in CCSL texting services, but will continue to listen for and assist with safety plans and/or refer to Safe2Tell as appropriate.

  • CCSL texting utilizes a robust resource directory to guide texters to resources for all presenting concerns. Our follow-up services indicate that texters are more likely to text in again during their next concern rather than follow up on a referral. They report stigma and ease and anonymity of texting as primary reasons.

MEDIA

We’re eager for the media to raise awareness of the Below the Surface campaign and the text line. Click below for materials that will make it easy to report on what’s happening.

Reporting resources

SCHOOLS

Interested in getting Below the Surface posters, cards and stickers into your school? Or know of a school that should have them? Learn more about making the connection.

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