9 Hotlines To Help Troubled Teens

What Parents Need to Know About Hotlines and Online Support for Teens

A troubled teenager.
A troubled teenager.. JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Hotlines set up to address adolescent issues provide an excellent resource to troubled teens and their parents. They provide access to free information, crisis counseling and listings of mental health professionals and treatment programs in your area.

First of all: if anyone in your family is in immediate danger, call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away!

Hotlines are designed for non-emergency help, both in the long and short terms.

How Hotlines Can Help

Nationwide hotlines - also sometimes referred to as help lines - offer general help and information related to teens. Other hotlines are dedicated to address specific issues such as eating disorders or suicide prevention.

These resources can be accessed online in various formats, via e-mail, or over the phone and provide direct communication with trained staff.

Parents can utilize hotlines to get reliable information about teen concerns, find 24/7 help in dealing with a teen crisis or to locate referrals for more long term or in-depth teen treatment.

They are also a resource that can be passed on directly or indirectly to your troubled teen. Sometimes they do not feel comfortable talking to people they know but will open up to another person that can relate to their feelings.

Nationwide Hotlines Providing General Information and Help

Boys Town National Hotline

  • Hotline offers immediate help 24/7
  • Staffed by Boys Town counselors
  • Help for both teens and parents.
  • Communication can also be via e-mail or online chat.

Teen Line

  • 'Teens helping teens - connect, talk, chat, get help.'
  • Teen and adult volunteers available to help.
  • Communication through direct calling, text, email or message board.

The HopeLine

  • Christian-based chat and phone counseling.
  • A specific helpline is available for suicide prevention.
  • Live chat and forums available.

Hotlines for Specific Teen Problems

Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

  • Directs the caller to skilled counselors in your local area.
  • Works with people struggling with many issues beyond suicide and of all ages.
  • Website available specifically for young adults.
  • Available 24/7 via phone or live chat.

Teen Runaways

National Runaway Switchboard

  • 'Crisis intervention to work through problems and find a plan of action.'
  • Work with both teens and parents to prevent and deal with running away.
  • Available by phone or live chat 24/7.
  • E-mail and forums are also available.

Covenant House

  • 'Crisis care for homeless and at-risk kids.'
  • Physical locations available throughout the U.S. and Canada.
  • Works with the National Runaway Safeline.
  • Trained counselors are available 24/7.
  • Offer reunification program for runaways and their families via Greyhound Bus Lines.

Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

  • Phone calls answered 9-5 EST, leave a message when closed.
  • Available via chat as well.
  • The website includes many helpful resources and toolkits.
  • Eating disorder support groups are available

Sexual Assault

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

  • Online hotline 'provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends and families.'
  • 24/7 communication directly with trained crisis support volunteers.

Dating Abuse


  • For teens in an abusive relationship and those concerned about them.
  • The website includes quizzes to help gauge a relationship and other useful resources.
  • Available 24/7 via phone, text and chat.

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