For troubled Davis County teens, help will only be a phone call away starting Feb. 15.

The Davis School District is ready to start a student crisis hot line called Teen Line. Officials hope that teenagers, who might be reluctant to seek other mental health services, might find solutions to problems by talking to their peers."The widespread use of drugs, alcohol and the dramatically increasing youth suicide rate are measures of our society's lack of recognition and response," a district news release said. "Existing mental health delivery models are inadequate in meeting the needs of this age group."

Teams of students from Bountiful, Clearfield, Layton and Davis high schools will answer calls seven days a week from 6 to 10 p.m. in an office in the Farmington district administration building. Calls will be monitored by mental health professionals and school counselors.

The hotline, open to students, parents and school staff, can be reached by calling 451-TEEN (451-8336). An answering machine will record messages from off-hour callers.

Students who were selected to help on the Teen Line have been trained in a monthlong course along with counselors and will receive ongoing evaluation.

Students served on the hotline can remain anonymous or, if they wish, may be referred to existing Davis District counseling services. The only exception would be when callers are in danger. School counselors will receive referrals on students needing help with school-related issues. More serious problems will be directed to the Davis County Mental Health Department.

The service will be a pilot program for the last four months of the school year and will provide students and parents access to existing counseling services. The system will also be used to collect data regarding student needs. The school district will evaluate the program after school ends.

The program will be funded by a grant from HI PATHE, a federally funded school program.