It can be difficult to reach out for help when we are experiencing a crisis, and speaking directly to someone or calling a resource can create another form of stress on top of the current situation. However, texting and messaging platforms have opened a new way for people to reach out for help. People are now able to speak over text message with trained volunteers about their experiences and create a safety plan for the future.
The Crisis Text Line launched in August of 2013 and has become a national 24/7 text line for those in crisis. Their mission is “[to help] people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, [to guide them] to create a plan to stay safe and healthy.” Their priority is to help people in crisis and they have focused on using data science and technology to improve the way they are able to provide help. Along with this, The Crisis Text Line believes in open collaboration. Our experiences are something that we don’t need to go through alone and we can work together to help ourselves and others through our experiences. Their blog and Crisis Trends are both platforms where the Crisis Text Line share what they have learned through their work.
On their Texting In page, they describe what the process looks like when you send them a text. When you text 741741, you can include whatever you would like in the message. If you’re not sure what to say, you can just write HOME or START. From there, you will be connected to a crisis counselor within 5 minutes. Crisis counselors are trained volunteers that can help talk you through your experience until you are in a safer space; however, they are not able to provide medical advice. Once the crisis counselor introduces themselves, you can share your emotions at your own pace while the crisis counselor aids you in sorting out your feelings. Then, whenever you feel like you are done with the conversation, you can text STOP. You will then be sent an optional survey that will help them better help others.
If you’re ever in a crisis situation, the Crisis Text Line is an incredible resource, especially if speaking out loud to someone is uncomfortable for you. They are available 24/7 every day of the week. If you would like to learn more about the founder of Crisis Text Line and how the organization came to be, The New York wrote a fantastic piece on them called R U There?.