TEEN TALK’S RELAUNCH AND EXPANSION TO THE ANDROID PLATFORM FEATURED IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL:
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) announced on Jan. 6 that their updated Teen Talk mental health shared platform can now operate on both iOS and Android devices. With this technology update, Teen Talk can reach more teen users and support their mental health during the pandemic.
Since May of 2018, Teen Talk, the free app that provides mental health support to teenagers, has been an important resource, but only available to teens using an Apple or iOS device.
When COVID-19 hit, JBBBSLA was able to add Android from donations from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, W.M. Keck Foundation, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California, and Beverly Hills Rotary Community Foundation.
“Teen Talk has allowed our agency to expand its reach in the most innovative way,” departing CEO of JBBBSLA, Randy Schwab said in a statement to the Journal. Schwab, who was instrumental in developing the app, added, “For the first time, teens can access real-time social [and] emotional help when and where they need it, right in the palm of their hand.”
Through the app, tens of thousands of teens from around the world can receive compassionate support from trained teen advisors. The teens who offer support are 14 to 18 years old and must complete 50 hours of training that typically met live, but adapted during the pandemic to meet virtually. The app is also supervised by experienced mental health clinicians. The supervisors have crisis experience and provide support to teen advisors during each of their 2-hour long shifts.
Since its launch, the app has had more than 36,000 downloads in more than 100 countries. Teens as young as 13 or as old as 19 can post anonymously 24/7 on the app. Teen advisors who are logged on can answer posts providing an outlet for peer-to-peer support. Teen Talk Community Relations Manager Leeron Tzalka told the Journal there are currently 120 active teen advisors in Los Angeles and around 135 in California.
The next training is in partnership with the L.A. Jewish Teen Initiative (co-founded through the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles) in February. Teen Talk plans to train 15 to 20 new teen advisors.