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We rely on analyses of aggregated anonymized conversation data to better understand how our hotline are used, and how we can do better. Ongoing projects (not presented here) rely on natural language processing to identify which support strategies may work better for non-crisis peer-to-peer support.


If you have ideas, or would like to get in touch about an academic collaboration, please don't hesitate to reach out.

How do we evaluate the efficacy of Lean On Me's conversations? This is an important and difficult question. Some of the metrics included below help us understand how the hotlines are used, and what we can do to improve our service. One potentially informative metric is the difference between how stressed users seem to be when they start a conversation versus how stressed they seem to be when they end a conversation. Perceived stress ratings are reported by Supporters (on a scale from 1 to 5).


At the end of a conversation, Supporters are asked to identify which topics were discussed (using a multiple-choice list with an open-response option that is manually coded)


Conversations are started whenever someone texts in. We can track, across all of the conversations we have had, when have requests come in? On which day of the week? At what time of day?


SMS messages are exchanged back and forth through the encryption hotline whenever a conversation is ongoing. We can track, across ongoing conversations, when are SMS messages being sent? On which day of the week? At what time of day?


We can also track how long conversations go on for (from the time at which the first request came in, to the time the conversation ended) as well as how long people wait for a conversation request to be claimed after they initially text in.


When conversations end, we ask Supporters to share whether or not, to the best of their knowledge, the user had sought support from any other service before reaching out to Lean On Me. We also ask Supporters whether or not they offered a recommendation to the user to reach out to any other community-specific support service during (or after) the conversation.


Sometimes, students who text in to a Lean On Me hotline would benefit from more professional support. In those cases, Supporters will initiate an SMS-based transfer to Samaritans, a crisis textline. As of September, 2022, transfers make up ~0.31% of our conversations. This means that approximately 1 in every 300 conversations is transferred to Samaritans.

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