Amid recent alarm over the post-pandemic youth mental health crisis facing Montgomery County and beyond, one beacon of help is gaining traction with young residents—the 988 helpline’s text function. Since the helpline’s launch last year, experts say Maryland has seen a tenfold increase in text interactions among youth seeking support in dealing with everything from relationship breakups to suicidal ideation.
“I find the work to be incredibly rewarding,” said Rockville hotline counselor Blair, whose last name EveryMind requested not be published due to the sensitive nature of his work. He continued, “On a community-based level, we’ve become a little more isolated as time goes on, whether because of COVID-19 or otherwise. I really think it’s necessary to have these services help fill in the gaps where our social interweaving has been lacking in recent generations.”