LEAD, a Lake Forest based non-profit, is expanding its 24/7 anonymous Text-A-Tip program to include all communities in Lake County, IL. After successfully launching in Lake Forest/Lake Bluff the system has been extended to include towns along the North Shore and recently became available in McHenry County.
Text-A-Tip provides a 24/7 anonymous text-communication system to youth needing immediate mental health assistance for themselves or a friend. Members of the community can send a text message to a dedicated number and receive an immediate response from a licensed clinician while remaining completely anonymous. The anonymity makes it a comfortable place for students to share and provides a safe outlet for voicing concerns about themselves and others.
“Thanks to the efforts of LEAD, Text-A-Tip has been hugely successful in offering youth an innovative way to seek help,” said Michael G. Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney. “I am excited to bring this program to the entire county and provide the people of Lake County a vehicle by which they can get support anonymously. This will, without a doubt, save lives.”
“Text-A-Tip was created to give young people an outlet for anonymous, immediate help for themselves or their friends,” said Andy Duran (pictured above), executive director of LEAD. “Whether struggling with depression, drug or alcohol abuse, bullying or challenging family issues, we allow them to reach out for help using their preferred method of communication – text messaging.”
How It Works:
Each community receives a unique ID which routes messages, in real-time, to a local on-call response team. All messages are sent through an offsite cloaking server that keeps the communication completely anonymous.
Anyone in Lake County wishing to use the system will simply text the phrase “LAKECO” to 274637.
Who Responds to the Texts?
The Response Team for Lake County consists of licensed/certified mental health professionals from Barrington Behavioral Health & Wellness who are on-call 24/7 to respond to messages. On-call clinicians from both their Barrington and Lake Zurich offices are responsible for responding appropriately to each communication and for following up whenever necessary. In the case of a life-threatening condition or criminal activity, emergency responders will be notified.
LEAD is proud to partner with the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center, Lake County Opioid Initiative, Lake County Regional Office of Education, Barrington Behavioral Health & Wellness and The Child, Adolescent and Family Recovery Center to bring this initiative to the whole of Lake County. Carol Calabresa, Lake County Board Vice-Chair, was responsible for securing funding for the expansion of Text-A-Tip into Lake County through the Lake County Board.
For more information, visit www.leadingefforts.org or call (847) 295-9075.
LEAD™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to parents and other adults and their role in the promotion of healthy family relationships and the prevention of alcohol, drug use, and other risky behavior by youth. LEAD has served the Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood, IL communities (population 30,000) for nearly 30 years, and now conducts trainings, workshops and presentations for both youth and adults all over the country.