Inspire USA Uses SMS to Inspire and Connect With Struggling Teens


The Inspire USA Foundation is using text messaging to help teenagers in need. They’ve launched two mobile programs that can help teens struggling with mental health issues, using two of text messaging’s powerful capabilities. They use text’s ability to reach a wide audience with a crucial message, broadcasting inspirational thoughts to lift teens’ moods. And, with their ReachOut TXT program, they use text’s ability to provide a one-to-one connection, creating a text message “chat” between struggling teens and peer mental health educators.

Using SMS to Inspire Teens with Messages of Support

How do you keep people feeling positive if they’re struggling with depression? A brief reminder or note of support can make all the difference.

That’s the operating principle behind Inspire USA’s ReachOut program. Teens who text INSPIRE to 877877 will receive a once-a-week mood lift in the form of a supportive, inspirational text message.

“Everyone has tough days. An easy way to help yourself through those rough patches and generally lift your spirits is to sign up for ReachOut weekly mood booster texts!” their website says.

A text message can provide a powerful prompt, but 160 characters can’t communicate everything. So Inspire USA’s messages also include links to resources that can further help teens, on subjects like managing the pressure to use drugs or alcohol and coping with stress.

Here are a couple examples:

‘Just b/c everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. Tips for standing up to pressure @
‘The day goes the way the corners of your mouth turn.” Stay positive. Develop coping strategies w/ help @’

Using SMS to Connect Teens in Text Message “Chat”

Inspire also launched a program for teens wanting more personal communication. Their ReachOut TXT program lets teens “chat” over text message with peer educators, who can help them with “issues ranging from relationship problems to depression.”

Teens looking to for peer advice can text REACHOUT to 877877 every Monday between 4pm and 8pm PST. The people on the other end, an enthusiastic team of young volunteers selected for their “strong commitment to offering nonjudgmental support and providing positive and unintimidating perspectives,” will talk to them about their concerns and questions.

The ReachOut TXT program, administered by CalMHSA, is funded by the California voter approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).

How Inspire USA’s Example Can Help Your Organization

Inspire USA shows how an organization can use one medium to reach its target audience in a variety of different ways.

  • They use text message broadcasts to send a mass message to all their teenage subscribers.
  • They use those same messages to offer subscribers further resources, providing links to more information that expands on the original message.
  • They offer one-to-one “chat,” where people managing the campaign can directly respond to users’ questions.

Text messaging is an incredibly versatile medium. Whether you’re trying to reach your audience with a simple message, trying to disseminate your other resources, or want to engage people one-to-one, text can offer you a solution. Contact us at to learn how you can get started on your mobile campaign today!

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