Below the Surface is an awareness campaign supported by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health that aims to help teens connect to and get support from the Colorado Crisis Services text line. This text line allows anyone to text 24/7 with a trained counselor on a personal, free, confidential line. The campaign’s focus on text meets teens where they are. Studies have shown that texting is the number one way that teenagers prefer to communicate and that the number of teens who own a smartphone is more than ever before.
Messaging for Below the Surface was derived from a group of Colorado teens in El Paso County who came together after their community experienced a spate of youth suicides to describe how fine the line is between being “OK” and “not OK.” They explained that on the surface someone may appear to be OK and doing great, but sometimes their true feelings are quite the opposite and pressure or crisis may be bubbling just below the surface. The messages are meant to help youth who may be navigating academic and social pressures, bullying and harassment, depression and anxiety, family instability, substance abuse, identifying as LGBTQIA+, relationship issues, and more.
Youth who have an adult to go to for help are 3.5 times less likely to attempt suicide, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. Below the Surface is built on the premise that speaking with a real person, trained to provide help, can make a real difference for a struggling young person. The messaging, created by and tested with youth, tries to reassure young adults that it’s OK to ask for help, no one dealing with a mental health challenge is alone, and regardless of how big or small the challenge is, there is a trustworthy resource to turn to.
To learn about all the services offered through Colorado Crisis Services, visit the CCS About page.
Use the toolkit to support the Below the Surface campaign in raising awareness of the Colorado Crisis Services text line among youth.