Spotlight: TEEN CONNECT
Recently I spoke with Shelley who is a service manager at Teen Connect, to find out more about their service and how it can support young people in crisis. I wanted to find out more about how Teen Connect works, and what sort of things you can talk to them about.
What is Teen Connect?
Teen Connect is a helpline for 11 to 18-year-olds who live in the Leeds area. They can offer you up to an hour of support each night over the phone, you can also text them or use their online chat if you do not feel comfortable phoning. They provide emotional support and information for teenagers provided by a small friendly team. They are also a survivor-led crisis service, so most of the team will have experienced a form of emotional distress or trauma at some point.
What can I talk to them about?
So, what can you talk to them about – well anything! Teen Connect is a service for any young person who needs emotional support. This is important because sometimes we can worry that our problems are not bad enough to be able to ask for help, but Shelly assured me that a crisis can look different to different people. This may be that someone has had a bad day at school or is stressed about exams. It could be that a young person is struggling with their identity, such as gender. Or that the young person is having suicidal thoughts or wanting to self-harm. Whatever the problem is they are there to listen.
Don’t sit on something if it is bothering you, reach out for support because there is someone available to talk to you. Contact us and give us a try if you want to talk.
What support can they provide?
Teen Connect is a listening service, which means that they will not try and treat your problems, but instead, they will listen to you. Shelley explained that this works by using a person-centred approach, meaning that the young person would be at the centre of the support and that they would choose what to speak about and directs the call. This can be great if you want to get things off your chest, or if you just want someone to listen to you. She further said that they try and encourage emotional awareness and resilience building, but that they do not offer advice or have an agenda.
If they did feel that a young person was at risk, they can help talk through a safety plan or signpost you to another service. Shelley also told me that sometimes people need more ongoing support, and that you can request to speak to a specific person so that you don’t need to repeat what you are going through. We will always try our best to accommodate this and it can be helpful if someone is on a waiting list and needs someone to talk to in the meantime.
Is the service confidential?
As a young person, it can be worrying calling phone lines in case they are able to find out who we are, where we live, or if people at home can see who we are calling. Shelley explained that all phone calls are confidential, which means that they won’t tell anyone else that you have called, or what you spoke about. The only time they would tell someone about what you have said, is if they feel that you or someone else is at immediate risk of harm. In this situation, they would always tell you what is happening and why. Teen Connect can see what number you are calling from, but they will not save your number.
How can I access support?
You can get support with Teen Connect by phone, text or online chat. They are open every day of the year
Monday – Friday, 3.30pm – 2am
Saturday – Sunday, 6pm – 2am
Call on 0808 800 1212 – if they don’t pick up, leave a voice message and they will call you back as soon as they can
Text on 0771 566 1559 and a member of staff will let you know when someone will be available to call or chat online with you
Go online by clicking the link below. If they can’t chat right away, they will let you know what time someone will be available
What about parents or carers?
They can also support parents or carers of young people aged 11-18 who need emotional support.