Denver teens get free 24/7 mental health support with a text

CBS Colorado

BY Tori Mason

Adults know the stress that comes with holiday cheer. Across the country, teens are also feeling a mental health slump as they step away for Christmas break. Students in Denver have a new resource to help them cope, and it’s already in the palm of their hands. 

“We’ve seen an increase in youth mental health needs since 2017. We really wanted to create an outlet for young people in a way that works for them. They can address their stress, their feelings of isolation, and really create a sense of belonging,” said Lorez Meinhold, executive director of Caring for Denver Foundation. 

Caring for Denver is partnering with Crisis Text Line to expand free, 24/7 mental health text support for students.  


Caring for Denver Foundation says it awarded the grant to Crisis Text Line outside of the normal triennial funding cycle, due to an overwhelming need for youth crisis-response support.

Crisis Text Line provides confidential text support to help teens in a format that is familiar, anonymous, and noncommittal.  

The hope is they’ll be more likely to seek out the support they need through texting. 

Jaci, a busy junior at Manual High School, has already used the free text line.  

Between schoolwork and sports, she says mental health takes a backseat.  

When she texted the line, she said she got a response in less than 30 seconds.  

“It helps a lot that it’s not face-to-face, and I don’t know the other person. Sometimes it’s hard to talk to people,” explained Jaci. “I told them I’ve been really tired lately, and I got advice on how to rest and say no to people. It’s an incredible thing.” 

70% of individuals who utilize the text line are under the age of 24 and 50% are under 18. 

Many are finding help through the same device that often causes so much pain.  

“We’re on our phones all the time, checking in on each other. But there’s only so much you can do as a friend,” said Jaci.  

School nurses like Lucy Roberts says students seek her out daily.  


She says 80% of the work she does is related to mental health.  

“I look at this as preventative care as well because it allows students and kids an opportunity to reach out before they’re in a major crisis or just be able to reach out at a time when they’re not at school,” said Roberts. “I’m so excited to be able to provide this to the students who are daily asking me for support.   

This crisis line is assisting students at every level. On the other end of these texts are 40 grad students from MSU. The partnership is helping them meet clinical hours and bolster their skills, while connecting teens to support that’s local.