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Statement on the Passing of Dr. Elaine Leader, Teen Line’s Co-Founder and Director Emeritus

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April 27, 2023

“My legacy is to see this work of teens helping teens continue.” – Dr. Elaine Leader (1927 – 2023) April 27, 2023 – Today we mourn the loss of Dr. Elaine Leader, the visionary co-founder and director emeritus of Teen Line, a program of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services that provides support and resources to young people through a hotline of professionally trained teen counselors. Dr. Leader was a pioneer in adolescent mental health, with a passion for supporting young people. She never shied away from tough conversations with teens, embracing them and validating their emotions. She recognized the power and opportunity that came from teens having conversations with one another before this type of peer-to-peer interaction was recognized as a meaningful mental health support. Didi Hirsh’s partnership with Dr. Leader on Teen Line started over 18 years ago, when it began taking the afterhours calls that came into the Line through its Suicide Prevention Center. To ensure Dr. Leader’s work and legacy would continue, Teen Line combined as a program of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in 2022 given its robust experience with suicide prevention and crisis lines. Dr. Leader’s impact was outsized, having reached teens around the world with Teen Line. Under her leadership, Teen Line trained over 2,200 listeners since its founding 40 years ago. Teen Line has also helped some of its former teen listeners to pursue careers in the behavioral health field, including its current senior director, Cheryl Eskin. “Beyond the imprint that Dr. Leader’s work has left on so many lives, her impact is the kind that shapes generations,” said Lyn Morris, LMFT and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. “Dr. Leader’s legacy will live on through the incredible work she started at Teen Line, and we will honor her memory every day by ensuring that teens can continue to help other teens.” For more information or to donate to Teen Line, visit https://www.teenline.org.
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