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 approximately 30 minutes. RMCP updates this section every two months. Data, suggestions, observations and recommendations will never identify any specific individual(s).

MARCH-JUNE 2020

  • There were 3,647 texts between March 1 and June 18. The greatest volume among teens continues to be in El Paso County (17 percent) followed by Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams and Denver counties. Utilization in Mesa and Weld counties is up significantly as publicity of the text line has increased.
  • Across the state and among teens, the most common trends (stressors) for this period of time were linked to the words ANXIETY, INFORMATIONAL, RELATIONSHIPS, DEPRESSION and FAMILIAL. Texts for information are up significantly as texters are asking about COVID-19 and associated resources.
  • March and April showed smaller usage numbers than in past years when school has been in session. May and June are showing larger numbers than past years, as many media outlets are consistently promoting that people text about stressors related to COVID-19 and racial brutality, fear and anger.

  • Teens (30 percent) are discussing social barriers due to there being no school or social outlets and the inability to earn summer income due to closures.

  • Nearly 40 percent of our texters are now over 27 years of age. The average age of texter is up since school has been out of session and media outlets have promoted the text line. The state marketing team continues to push out texting information on Snapchat and Instagram. Statewide, texters identifying as female account for 72% of all texts.

  • Many teens have had school-based counseling as part of support system and have been missing that option. Our counselors remind them of telecounseling options and the importance of maintaining good self-care, using effective coping strategies, establishing routines where possible, and managing anger.
  • Texts have been received more consistently every day, with a slight increase on Fridays and Saturdays. Day-to-day spikes are more noticeable when school is in session; having less of a schedule to maintain is likely the difference.

  • Counselors have given more referrals for care beyond the text line (13 percent versus less than 3 percent in previous timeframes). We believe that social isolation, depression and lack of school support resources likely account for the increase. Parents are also looking for resources for their family members.

  • Teens from Colorado who text for support nationally rank 31st in the country for anxiety and 20th for depression and sadness.

  • CAN’T, CONFUSED, FEELING, DIFFERENT and FAMILY are words most often used when teens are texting about their anxiety.

  • Counselors are consistently reminding teens to share information about the text line with their friends, as they are less likely to learn of it in school or social settings during this time.

  • Nearly 5 percent of teens who texted were assessed to be at moderate to high risk for suicide. Our counselors continue to assess, stabilize and, if needed, connect to mobile crisis or walk-in services.

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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