Need to Talk?
Wanna Talk About it?
When I was in my junior year of my undergrad, I worked at the Switchboard of Miami which is a not-for-profit call center that answers the 211 and suicide prevention hotline. I was certified as a crisis counselor and I worked there for about two years before I decided to move to Disney for work. Why am I telling you this? Well at the BlogHer17 conference, I was re-introduced to this world but a little differently. There is now a crisis text line which I believe is just as important to talk about. It’s not a therapy session, but a place for someone in desperate crisis to turn to and get the in the moment help that they’re looking for when desperation hits at all kinds of hours.
What is the Crisis Text Line?
The Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. You are able to text 741741 from anywhere in the US to talk through text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line trains their volunteers to support people in crisis. They have processed over 42 million messages to date, and are growing quickly, yet so is the need.
The Crisis Text Line was born “from the rib” of DoSomething.org, the largest organization for young people and social change. Dozens of DoSomething.org members were texting in to ask for personal help and CEO Nancy Lublin came up with the idea for Crisis Text Line and quietly launched it in August 2013. After 4 months, the Crisis Text Line was being used in all 295 area codes in the US and just two years later, the Crisis Text Line spun out into a separate entity and Nancy went along with it.
You can read a complete story detailed in this New Yorker article.
Why am I talking to you about it?
I am writing this post and talking to you about the Crisis Text Line because this is something out there, that not a lot of people are aware of. The Crisis Text Line is the first and only national, 24/7 crisis-intervention hotline to conduct its conversations (the majority of which are with teen-agers) exclusively by text message.
Why does this matter? Because you can help too. The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers to help others when they are seeking help. Not only just that, the Crisis Text Line wants you to help spread the word. Let people know this is there for them, especially teenagers. No one really realizes how much teenagers go through. Between bullying at school, cyber-bullying now online and through social media, and depression among other things they experience without expressing it to family, friends, or loved ones.
The Crisis Text Line is a place for them to go when desperation hits and they are looking for help, but are too ashamed to ask people they know about it. I know first hand how it feels to be overwhelmed by the feeling of depression and if I had this when I was in high school, especially my senior year, I would have not only used it but let people know about it.
It is so important to realize that people need help and are too afraid to ask for it. The Crisis Text Line is that place for them to text without feeling like they’re going to be judged. It’s totally confidential and it’s a safe place for them to talk about what they are going through and how they feel, especially in a moment of panic or crisis.
How can you get involved?
There are two things you can do to get involved and get the word out there. First, you can talk about the Crisis Text Line and let people know it’s out there. Spread the message. Post about it, Instagram about it, Facebook about it, however you feel comfortable talking about it. Do it. Another way to get involved is to volunteer to the Crisis Text Line which I just did.
Crisis Counselors answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm conversation through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning. Volunteers commit to (ONLY) 200 total hours, serving between 2 and 12 hours each week (they are totally flexible!) in order to meet this requirement. You can learn more about it by clicking here.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, Crisis Text Line is a great place to start. Simply send a text to 741-741. A trained crisis counselor will respond, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Like Crisis Text Line, these folks are available 24/7.