Back-to-school season is full of preparation for parents and kids alike: wrapping up summer reading lists, stocking up on school supplies essentials, and color-coding calendars to get your family into a new routine. 

Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 support for anyone in crisis. At Crisis Text Line, we know that the transition back to the school year can be challenging for both parents and students. How? Because our texters tell us. Each fall, we see a spike people reaching out to us about their fears and anxieties around going back to school. For the month of August, some of the most common topics our texters bring up include school, social media, and bullying. 

So, new notebooks and pens are great. But, the ultimate back-to-school essential your kid needs is the phone number to help them process the hard stuff that comes with beginning a new year. Texting HOME to 741741 can help them get the help they need—whenever and wherever they need it. 

Here are a few ways to help set your kid up for mental health success this school year. 

  1. Be proactive. Especially in times of transition, mental health challenges can sneak up unexpectedly. Maybe classes have suddenly become a lot more challenging, or maybe friend groups aren’t syncing the way they used to, or maybe a new routine has caused underlying anxiety to feel a whole lot louder. Help your kid be prepared with ways to find help before they actually need it. Save 741741 in their phone so they always have help at their fingertips. 
  2. Start them young. As an organization, texters under 25-years-old make up the vast majority of the people who reach out to us for support. And, our population of young texters is growing. High school-age texters make up one-third of our users. And, the number of texters under 13-years-old is growing rapidly. It’s never too early to equip your kid with the tools that could help them get help when they need it. Save 741741 as a resource for them as soon as they have access to 
  3. Validation is key. No matter your age, reaching out for help can sometimes feel intimidating. Check-in with your kids regularly about their mental health. Reiterate that it’s okay to not be okay and that it is always brave to ask for help. And, lead by example. Start the hard conversations so your kids know that it is okay to do the same. 
  4. Independence is big. Part of starting a new school year means added independence and responsibility. The reality is, you won’t be with your kid in absolutely every minute they need help. But, you can set them up with the tools to get help when you’re not there. Plus, part of getting older is learning how to process things in their own way. Make sure they know they can always text 741741 to connect with a real human.

For as challenging as it may be for kids to return to school, we know that it can drum up a flood of emotions for parents, too. Whether your kid is going off to kindergarten or off to college, chances are that this new season might usher in a flood of nerves and anxiety. So, 741741 is for parents, too. Because, everyone deserves kindness and support from a real human. 

With the right tools at your fingertips, parents and kids alike can be ready to take this year by storm.