GoT 5 Challenge Text Crisis Line

Help is just a text away

 Sign for Crisis Text Line

For all the hands-on learning that is done at the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Service, Principal Evangelo Michas knows just how equally important a students’ social and emotional well-being is in order to achieve success.

For the past year and a half, students have had to contend with the impact a global pandemic had on their education — from switching back-and-forth between in-person classes and remote learning. There were other stressors as well that were equally, if not more distracting.  

The loss of a family member, the loss of housing, and loss of household income were possible challenges that may have confronted students during this time, Mr. Michas said. It all can be overwhelming and impact a students’ learning.

When the principal had an opportunity to help students who may be struggling, he opted in by participating in the “GoT 5 Challenge.”

The New York State Office of Mental Health and the Suicide Prevention Center of New York State collaborated to create a campaign to help schools raise awareness about a Crisis Text Line. The line is free, anonymous, available 24/7 and provides counseling for teens via text. Those in crisis can text “GoT5” to 741-741 and they will connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Schools who participated in the challenge were directed to email students and faculty informing them the Text Crisis Line was available and how to use it, post SPCNY’s video on their school’s website and social media accounts, and promote the information in their schools through posters or on digital message boards.

Mr. Michas reached out to Southern Westchester BOCES Director of Communications, Brian Howard, who he said was instrumental in adding the video and further details to his school’s website.

Additionally, as students arrive at school and get off their buses and walk into Building D each day they will see a poster with with details about the text line.

For Mr. Michas the message is personal, his own family having once been affected by an attempted suicide. He is determined to prevent his students and their families from ever having to experience anything like that.

“It is important to let families at BOCES know there is help,” he said. “We’re trying to be mindful of our students’ social and emotional needs, the state of our students.”

According to information provided by the GoT5 Challenge, the text line had 37,200 text conversations with teens 17 and younger and 745 suicidal de-escalations. Among the teens who texted, 90 percent said they had a helpful conversation and 40 percent said school was the number one reason for texting.

“Even if it’s only 2-3 kids who text, I did my job,” Mr. Michas said.