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).

DECEMBER 2019/JANUARY 2020

  • Across the state and among teens, the most common trends (stressors) for this period of time were SAFETY, FINANCIAL, RELATIONSHIPS, EDUCATIONAL, FAMILIAL and SUBSTANCE.
  • There were 883 texts during this time, a slight decrease from October/November. That is likely due to the holiday season, as overall volume typically decreases during December and starts to pick up again mid-January. The highest volume among teens continues to be in El Paso County, followed by Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams and Denver counties. Utilization in Mesa County is new to the “above 10 texters” threshold that allows for more detailed reporting; this is likely due to increased awareness of all crisis services on the Western Slope.
  • We continue to have numerous teenagers reach out due to concerns around a friend or partner having thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm. Our goal is to help teens have effective conversations with their friends, including asking about suicidal ideation. We also consider the option of reaching out directly and/or participating in a 3-way call. Presenting issues triggering concern about a friend/family member are toxic or broken relationships, stress from school, familial stress and compromised coping skills.

  • Teens reported using marijuana as a coping method for the stress and overwhelming emotions they are experiencing. There were 198 texts during this time period, and words most often utilized in these conversations were ADDICTED, ALCOHOL, EMBARRASSED FAMILY and STOP. Nationally, Colorado ranks No. 10 in texts received for substance use concerns/crisis. It is helpful to remind our teens that 38255 can also be for substance use concerns as well as suicidal ideation.

  • Teens continue to talk about finances, debt and bills as major life stressors. Teens speak of anxiety about their own finances and those of their family, particularly after the holiday season.

  • One of the barriers to care indicated by teens is limited availability in providers’ schedules. It’s important for mental health care providers to offer evening and weekend appointments so that teens can attend without missing school (rather than having missed school become yet another stressor). Effective school-based counseling can be an asset, as can the text line.
  • During December and January, the highest number of texts occurred on Sunday evenings. In previous months/years, we saw a spike in utilization on Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings. It is not known why we would see such a significant change, and we will continue to watch this trend and offer any thoughts or recommendations.

  • In the significant majority of texts received, the text interaction alone meets the need of the teen. Follow-ups are set for nearly 5 percent of texters. It is thought that teens will reach out again more often than callers because of the ease of access.

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.

Adoption info