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Thousands use texting-based support service HOPELINE in first year

Bullying, break ups and bigotry are just some of life's stresses kids are venting about on their phones through text message.

"The average conversation is 3 hours and 42 minutes," said Barb Bigalke.

It's called HOPELINE, an emotional support service to stop problems from escalating to a crisis, by simply listening.

"Many a times, a person has texted in and said 'I'm so overwhelmed with everything in life, I have no idea why I'm even here,'" she said.

In its first year, HOPELINE helped 35,040 individual texters. Bigalke is the executive director of the Center for Suicide Awareness, which started the program.

"It's not about diagnosis," she said. "It's not about therapy."

Instead, a team of trained volunteer responders use laptops to help those on the other end of technology reduce their stress.

"Helping them cope with what's going on in a healthy way," said Bigalke. "You start to break those down to more manageable topics."

The center continues to spread the message of hope through informational videos. HOPELINE responders also offer community resources, anything to let teens and adults know that suicide is not an option.

 HOPELINE is free and available 24/7, 365 days a year to anyone who needs help. To talk to someone, just text "HOPELINE" to 741-741.

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