An email from District 155 Crystal Lake Central High School Principal Steve Olson:
Dear parents and guardians:
We are pleased to announce that as the new school year begins, a new mental health resource will become available to our students. Beginning August 17th, students will be able to use their preferred method of communication – text messaging – to reach out for help for themselves or a friend.
Text-A-Tip is an anonymous texting service that allows teens to find immediate help if they are struggling with
- drug or alcohol abuse,
- difficult family situations,
- bullying, or
- any of the many challenges they face today.
The texting service is supported by local law enforcement agencies and school districts across McHenry County and is targeted to middle and high school students. The service is available 24/7, is completely anonymous, and is staffed with trained, licensed counselors to support teenagers who have a concern or a crisis.
The new texting service will be introduced to students during the first few weeks of school. Students will receive stickers with information on how to connect with Text-A-Tip. In addition, posters and flyers will be displayed throughout our building and the community.
How It Works: Anyone who sends the text message MCHELP to 274637 will receive an immediate text response from a trained, professional counselor. Counselors are provided by LEAD (Linking Efforts Against Drugs), a non-profit organization focused on promoting healthy family relationships and preventing alcohol and drug use and other risky behaviors by youth. The response team consists of licensed/certified mental health professionals from The Child, Adolescent, and Family Recovery Center in Hoffman Estates. The Recovery Center will be working closely with the McHenry County Crisis Center, who will take over as the response team within 6-12 months after launch.
Thanks to a system that routes calls through a cloaking server, texters are completely anonymous, allowing teens the freedom to reach out for help without fear. In the case of a life-threatening condition, emergency responders will be notified and be given as much information as possible to help the person in need.
Who Should Use Text-A-Tip? Text-A-Tip is available for communication of any kind of concern, though it is primarily intended for students to use if they need immediate mental health assistance or have a drug/alcohol abuse concern for themselves or a friend. Adults can use the service as well to report concerns.
Funding for Text-A-Tip has been provided by the McHenry County Community Foundation through an anonymous private donor. We are grateful to the foundation for taking an immediate interest in this initiative and to the individual who generously donated the funds to it possible. In addition, we thank Konica Minolta and Crystal Lake Graphics for donating printing services for the various marketing materials.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about Text-A-Tip.
Steve Olson, Principal