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Boys Town Hotline Answers Crisis Calls

​​This article is written by Julie Cornell of KETV. It was posted ​on ketv.com on June 2, 2016.

They're always there at midnight, at 3 a.m. or when everyone else is getting up to go to work. Trained counselors are waiting to answer desperate calls from people contemplating suicide, children being bullied or parents trying to locate runaway teens.

In a plain room lined with cubicles, phones and computer screens, lives are being saved and changed every day. The Boys Town National Hotline, located in Omaha, is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by trained counselors answering crisis calls.

"It's typically people in that suicide crisis. They don't want to die. They're in overwhelming amounts of pain and they want that pain to stop," said Kris Bosiljevac, who helps run the Boys Town National Hotline.

In a calm and reassuring way, counselors assess a person's problem and offer compassion and resources.

"I always call her 'my angel,'" said 23-year-old Kenna of the hotline counselor whom she called on a hopeless day in 2010.

The girl was alone in a field in North Carolina getting ready to end her life.

At the urging of a former high school boyfriend, Kenna took an intimate photo of herself meant only for him. Within minutes, he shared it with the entire student body, and the shame drove Kenna to consider suicide.

It was trauma that she couldn't share with her parents. She said she had a difficult time talking to them about anything that mattered to her.

Kenna said the Boys Town hotline counselor defused the situation and brought her hope.

"She said I had a purpose here and that I could create the future I wanted to see," said Kenna.

Counseling followed, along with normal high school struggles. But Kenna came out on the other side, and she wants other teenagers to know that they can too.

"Instead of dying at 16, I'm here at 23," she said.

Kenna now travels the state, talking to high school students about the dangers of bullying, using her experience to help others. She's pursuing a career in law enforcement as she works full time for a security firm.

"We empathize. We validate. We really listen to what is going on, try to help them through that tough time," said counselor Sharon Martin, who's worked on the hotline since its inception 25 years ago.

Counselors are available to speak to anyone dealing with relationship trouble, parenting issues and emotions. You can also email, text or live chat with a counselor.

To reach the hotline 24/7, call 1-800-448-3000 or go to yourlifeyourvoice.org.

You can email or live chat with a counselor there.

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