South Carolina takes message to teens
- By Brian Robinson
- May 30, 2001
Seeing a dearth of ways to reach teenagers about mental health issues, South
Carolina has set up a Web site that promises to deliver "matters that matter
to teens" in a way that relates more directly to them than other so-called
teen health sites.
The "Teen Matters' Web site (www.teen-matters.com), hosted by five students
at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, uses video and graphics to provide
teens with information on such topics as suicide, body image, bullies, rape,
and drug and alcohol abuse.
Such a site was needed because, although teenagers are told all the time
to talk to someone if they have problems, they rarely do, said Susan Craft,
assistant director of communications for the South Carolina Department of
Mental Health. With the emerging Internet culture, however, teens might
be more willing to go to the Internet to seek information and help, she
And despite a plethora of sites that focus on teen issues, few address the
teens themselves, Craft said.
"I went to about 500 sites that said they were for teens, to check them
out," she said. "But they were mostly for parents or counselors, and only
a very few made any attempt to reach out to the teens directly."
The site officially launched May 7. Craft said her department will visit
schools around the state in the fall to encourage them to link the Teen
Matters site with their own school sites. Then the program will be reviewed
early next year to analyze attendance and use, and to see if other features
such as chat rooms should be added to the Web site.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.