For four years, Frank Warren has collected strangers’ deepest secrets for display on his community art blog PostSecret.com. About 1,000 secrets are mailed to Warren each week, ranging from humorous anecdotes to painful confessions. Some secrets, however, aren’t secrets at all—they’re cries for help.
Now Warren is teaming up with 1-800-suicide to answer those calls. Warren says he will challenge students at the universities that he speaks to in April to start a peer-to-peer crisis hotline. He has pledged to match the funds put forward to create the hotlines. “People feel safe sending in cards to post secret and that safe bubble extends to the talks,” says Warren. “I want to channel those feelings of safety and wanting to help people” into the creation of the hotlines.
Warren says he has received many secrets from college age students over the years who are struggling with depression, academic pressures, eating disorders, or who are coping with past sexual assault. Though he has often wanted to help, the anonymous nature of the mailings kept him from being able to reach out. Peer-run campus crisis networks, that allow people to call in anonymously, could provide individuals with the support they need to get through a difficult time, says Warren.