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New Jersey kids and teens are stressed out, and who can blame them? With some schools switching to remote learning, the omicron variant surging and the usual stress that comes with tween and teen hormones, it’s a lot to handle. The Crisis Text Line is one way kids can cope.

Help is just a text message away for anyone who needs support. This New York-based platform offers free services and has already conducted 7 million conversations that show just how much anxiety we’re all experiencing. Unfortunately, New Jersey came in first with the most texts about anxiety among any US state. The pandemic has increased messages to the Crisis Text Line and the omicron surge has also led to a spike in those reaching out for help.

The service started in 2013 and offers help via text, Facebook and WhatsApp, platforms that kids and teens are especially comfortable with. Seventy-five percent of its users are under age 25. Trained volunteers, some of whom are studying for social work degrees, can refer texters to mental health professionals as needed. Conversations typically last 15-45 minutes. The nonprofit organization wants people to know that they are not alone, and that help is just a text message away.

The service allows for kids and teens to text for advice, even when they are in the midst of a situation, like during lunch period or recess or at a family gathering. Tuesday is the day the nonprofit says people feel the most stress, so consider reaching out.

You can text HOME to 741741 to reach a volunteer crisis counselor. Text exchanges are anonymous.

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