Teen Link began in 1996, after the tragic death of Audra Letnes, the daughter of a Crisis Clinic employee. Audra was only 16 when she was murdered by her boyfriend who had been abusing her for over a year. Aware of what was happening, her mother tried to get her help, but Audra had difficulty connecting with the services that were available at the time. Like many youth, Audra wasn’t comfortable opening up to the adult-led programs and none of the services provided peer-to-peer support.
Because of her experience working at Crisis Clinic, Audra’s mother knew the power of making one meaningful connection. As a way to ensure this type of tragedy could be prevented in the future, she worked together with Crisis Clinic to develop the Teen Link program in Audra’s memory, a safe place for any young person to connect with other youth for resources and emotional support for whatever comes up in their lives. Today, Teen Link answers calls and online chats from teens needing support and also makes youth suicide prevention presentations at schools throughout King County.
Teen Link offers a confidential, anonymous, and non-judgmental help line for youth ages 13-20, every evening between 6-10 p.m. Teen volunteers are trained to listen to your concerns and talk with you about whatever’s on your mind. No issue is too big or too small! Volunteer phone workers also have access to an extensive database and can give you information on agencies serving youth in King County, Washington.
After hours, you have the option of being transferred to the Washington Recovery Help Line, where an adult can talk with you. You can also leave a message on Teen Link’s voicemail. When leaving a message, please include your name, phone number, and information about your concerns. Because of confidentiality, Teen Link volunteers will not leave a message when calling back unless you specify that it is okay to do so.
In addition to our telephone help line, Teen Link also offers Teen Link Chat. Much like the help line, you can use Teen Link Chat to seek support from our teen volunteers on a variety of issues including: bullying, drug and alcohol concerns, relationships, stress, depression, or any other issue you’re facing.
Teen Link currently accepts chats evenings from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. Teen Link Chat does not work well on cell phones, so we ask that you log on with a computer to chat with us.
“Talk it Out” is our tagline and mantra. It’s the message that, just by talking about your problems, things can get better. Sure, calling Teen Link doesn’t mean your problems magically disappear, but expressing your feelings and what you’re going through is a good first step!
The goal of Teen Link is to empower youth by supporting them as they make healthy decisions.
Teen Link is part of the Washington Recovery Help Line, providing support to youth across Washington State who have questions or concerns about substance abuse, problem gambling, or mental health issues. For more information, you can check out our Drugs & Alcohol page or visit the Washington Recovery Help Line’s website.
Teen Link offers Teen Link Trainings (TLTs) to schools and agencies serving youth in King County. The curriculum is presented by Teen Link staff and may also be co-facilitated by a professionally trained youth volunteer. TLTs include an overview of the Teen Link program and statistics on youth suicide in a discussion-based model. Students are encouraged to talk openly about stress, coping mechanisms, warning signs, and methods of intervention with someone who may be considering suicide. For more information, visit our TLT page!
Where to Turn for Teens is updated annually and published in September. This guide on King County resources is an effective way to connect teens with agencies serving youth. If you are interested in ordering WTTFTs, please call 1(866) TEENLINK between the hours of 6-10 pm or (206) 461-3210 during regular business hours.
Teen Link receives sustaining support from United Way of King County, City of Seattle, King County Mental Illness Drug Dependency Fund, WA State Division of Behavioral Health Resources and the cities of Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Shoreline and Tukwila.
Charitable support comes from: Aven Foundation, Charis Fund, Elizabeth Lynn Foundation, Jeffris Wood Foundation, and Norcliffe Foundation.