In 2021, the Boys Town National Hotline took 103,566 calls and 20,660 web contacts (emails, chats and texts). These are just a few examples of the questions commonly asked and the answers they received from Hotline Consultants. The Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-448-3000.
1. Suicidal Ideation
Q: I have been suicidal all my life. I want this to end but I’m too much of a coward to do it. How do I get to a better mind set?
A: Everyone's "normal" might look different, but if you are spending more time feeling down than enjoying life, YES there needs to be more balance or perhaps more services in place for you so you can manage your depression and not constantly be running interference with your suicidal thoughts.
Q: I have really bad anxiety. I need some advice asap. Can you give me any advice?
A: Sometimes anxiety can pop up out of nowhere or there can be a trigger that sets it off. If not worked through, the feelings can become too big for you to handle on your own.
Q: I think I have depression. I have taken multiple quizzes. Can you tell me anything useful?
A: We are so glad you are reaching out for some help. It's very normal to feel sad or down at times. If your down times seem to keep happening, it is time to let your parents know what is going on.
4. Significant Other
Q: The person I was dating has caused me pain mentally. How do I get over someone I like?
A: When trying to get over any kind of feeling or emotion it is important that you address how you feel and express it in some way. You don't want to keep those feelings bottled up inside; doing that can make things much harder.
5. Relationship with Parents
Q: I fought with my parents. How do I calm down?
A: It can be upsetting when you don't get along with your parents, and are not seeing eye to eye on things. In addition to this you are probably feeling vulnerable with the loss of your phone which for many people is a link to friends and support. Now might be the time to sit down and journal out all that you have been feeling.
Q: I don’t have a lot of friends. How do I make friends?
A: It can be hard to make friends. Perhaps you are shy or quiet, and you might not know where to start. Sometimes making new friends means taking a risk, and talking to someone new. This could be at school, or at home, or even during an activity. I'm sending you a link that might be helpful.
Q: My friends have turned their backs on me. I feel so alone. I don’t even know what I did wrong.
A: We can appreciate the frustration, confusion, and hurt you expressed in your email about feeling abandoned by your friends. It does seem very odd that your relationship with them would change so drastically and quickly. Reaching out is the brave and wise thing to do, yet we know it is not always easy to do. You are doing great by talking about what is going on today.
Q: Why is it so hard not to cut again?
A: We really don't know WHY, we just know that is human nature and even if for the past two years you have found other things to use to ease your emotional pain that are healthier than cutting, you still may have that urge to some degree. But we also know this. You are stronger than your addiction!
9. Third Party Suicide
Q: How do I know if they are serious?
A: We understand your concern and your confusion. The best way to respond would be to ask if they are serious. If they say "no" then just say something like, "that is good, but comments like that are concerning" or "when you say things like that it worries me". The research done in suicide prevention, shows that it's better to ask then to assume they don't mean it.
10. Abuse Victim
Q: My dad emotionally abuses me, every time he talks to me it is to criticize me. How do I go about discussing his abuse? I want to try to clear the air one last time.
A: First, start writing down some ideas as to what you want to say to him and the incidents that you would like to talk about. You can jot them down on paper or on a notebook. Secondly, decide if you feel you need to have an adult with you or not. Can you talk with your school counselor or another family to help you?
Why Do Teens Call the Hotline?
Teens reach out for help for a variety of reasons, the important thing is that they reach out. Below is a snapshot of the number one reason teens called our crisis hotline in 2018.