It is 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Two young women sit on an overstuffed sofa in a cheery office, idly drawing with colored pencils. Another teen, a young man, sits at a table facing a large monitor that displays an incoming chat message from a teen in crisis. He types a reply. The phone begins to ring, and a fourth teen, Fiona, slips on a headset. “Thank you for calling Teen Link. How can I help?”
“Um, yeah. Hi. I’m just calling. I mean, there’s just a lot going on. I just thought I should talk to somebody.” The caller is whispering so softly he is almost inaudible.
“That’s why we’re here. Go for it. I’m listening,” Fiona coaxes.
“I feel really bad lately, but I don’t know why. I want to talk to my mom, but I can’t. It’s completely impossible.” The caller inhales sharply and starts to cry.
“Oh man, that’s a really tough place to be,” responds Fiona sincerely. She pauses for a moment, then asks, “Why do you think it’s impossible to talk to your mom?”
The call continues for another half hour. Eventually, the caller calms down a little. He and Fiona work out a couple of scenarios in which the caller could open up to his mother. Then Fiona checks the directory on her computer and gives the caller contact information for two support groups in his area.
“I’ll try the first one, but if it bombs, I’m calling back tomorrow night for new ideas,” the caller says with an awkward laugh before hanging up.