Crisis Line Helps Luciana Stay Safe, Connected
This story came from Runaway Reality, a regular feature on the National Runaway Safeline’s blog highlighting the stories of young people and families who contact the hotline. The names and locations have been changed.
Standing outside of a shopping center in Corpus Christi, Texas, 19-year-old Luciana began feeling unbearable emotions. An earlier argument with her mother and grandmother led her to feel that her family did not understand or respect her because of her learning disabilities. In an upset panic, she made the decision to run.
Fortunately, Luciana called the National Runaway Safeline, the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s federally mandated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth. The Safeline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to young people and the adults who care about them.
After realizing that Luciana could not stay with family or friends, Aaron—a trained and experienced frontline team member—searched for available shelters. Unfortunately, the local shelter he reached by phone was booked for the night. Upon hearing this news, Luciana expressed suicidal thoughts of jumping into a nearby body of water.
Aaron quickly shifted the conversation to Luciana’s immediate safety, offering supportive statements while they talked through options to get her through the night. Together, they came up with a plan for Luciana to visit a nearby nursing home where she could ask for help.
At this point, some local police officers noticed the young woman standing outside of the shopping center and came to check on her. Luciana explained that she was on the phone with the Safeline, and Aaron stayed on the line while the police asked her questions. The officers reassured Luciana that she was not in trouble, but that they did not want her staying outside of the shopping center where it was not safe. When Luciana mentioned she was considering suicide, the officers made a plan to drive her to the police station where they could coordinate shelter with a family member or local facility.
In 2014, the National Runaway Safeline fielded more than 15,000 crisis calls from young people like Luciana and their families. More than half of young people reached out for help before running away. Of those who had already left home, most were gone for three days or fewer.