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Just a quick update about a change starting at Scarleteen, for those who use our direct services.
With both our message boards and text service, we have told our users for many years now that they can expect a reply from a staff member or volunteer within 24 hours, though most have usually received replies more quickly than that, often even within minutes at certain times of day.
We need to make an adjustment to that timetable. Starting today, users of our direct services should be prepared for a window of waiting as long as potentially 48 hours (but more realistically, a few hours rather than within minutes).
Over the last year, we've been more short-handed with volunteers than usual. Some of our core volunteers have been winding up working more hours than volunteers should be expected to work. Per usual, our very modest budget also does not allow us to hire additional staff. Being shorthanded here is often especially typical during the summer months. Alas, that also happens to be the time of year when we have the most users in need, a pretty unfortunate coincidence!
I (our executive director and most frequent provider of direct services, especially at the message boards) am also... well, let's just be real: I'm getting older, y'all. So, that thing where 28-year-old me could work 14-hour days for many, many days on end and rarely get burnt out or feel like she got run over by a truck? 41-year-old me is not having that perky experience. 41-year-old me is gasping for air, and saying things like, "Shut the front door!" about it, an embarrassing turn of phrase for 41-year-old anyone to be saying at all, so you can see the kind of effect this has been having on me. Not only do I need a little more downtime, I also have to be sure I'm doing my best to direct and oversee the whole of the organization and the website.
Lastly, there's this marvelous thing we advise all of you about in all we do you may know as your life. Some of our volunteers, and myself, are missing that marvelous thing ourselves, and to do our best by you as well as by ourselves, we all need a little more time to have a life, too.
Should you need or want help more quickly than you might be able to get it during one of our busier times, as we'll usually suggest for users in a real jam, your best bet is often going to be to try and connect with someone in person -- if you have a health concern, some kind of healthcare provider is always ideal, if your personal safety is at risk or you have already been harmed, your local police -- or you can dial a hotline like one of the following:
In the US:
National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): 800-656-HOPE
The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ youth): 866-488-7386
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
National Abortion Federation: 877-257-0012
Lifeline Crisis: 131114
We really appreciate your patience as we continue to grow and learn (as we always are) how to keep everything, and everyone who is part of everything, running our best around here. Cheers!