Did you know there is a free crisis text line you can contact if you need help? From www.crisistextline.org.
Q: WHAT IS CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: A free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis.
Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?
- You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
- A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
- The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.
Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?
A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.
Q: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “MOVE FROM A HOT MOMENT TO A COOL CALM?”
A: Our Crisis Counselors bring texters “from a hot moment to a “cool calm” using techniques in empathetic listening. Once they’ve built rapport and trust, explored the issues, and established the texter’s goal, they collaboratively problem-solve to help the texter come up with a plan to stay safe.
Q: WHO ARE THE CRISIS COUNSELORS?
A: Our Crisis Counselors dedicated, trained, supervised volunteers from around the country. After a rigorous multi-stage application process, background check, and graduating from our training program, each volunteers 4 hours every week (all at once or in two 2-hour shifts). Supervisors (who all have master’s degrees or PhDs in psychology or social work) oversee the Crisis Counselors.
Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?
A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?
A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?
A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.
Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?
A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.
Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?
A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.
Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?
A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.
Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?
A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.
Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.
Q: DO YOU GIVE REFERRALS?
A: Right now we offer national and online referrals. We vet all referrals. Coming soon: a product that will allow our Crisis Counselors to offer texters local referrals when appropriate.
Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?
A: Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this isn’t ideal, and we wish those carriers would enable us!). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.
Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?
A: Yes, we’re leveraging messaging apps! You can reach us through Facebook Messenger, where we’re slowly rolling out access– if you are in select states, you’ll see the button to message us, which will connect you to a live Crisis Counselor. We’re also available on Kik. If you indicate you are in crisis to select Kik bots you may be pointed to Crisis Text Line for further help. These services are for people in crisis. Have a general inquiry? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER OR KIK, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?
A: Yes, totally anonymous! We do not have access to your Facebook or Kik profiles. The only information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?
A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA A MESSAGING APP LIKE FACEBOOK MESSENGER OR KIK AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?
A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same. Kik doesn’t collect message level data.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA A MESSAGING APP, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?
A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger or Kik, users agree to the messaging app’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.
Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?
Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?
A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.
Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
Crisis Text Line
Attn: Finance Dept.
24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10010
Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?
A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.
Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED/HOW CAN IT BE FREE?
A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations. It’s important to us that a high quality service is accessible to anyone who needs it, and that the data is all in one place. Money shouldn’t be a barrier to help.
Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?
Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?
A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.
Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!
Q: WHAT TYPES OF CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS DO YOU HAVE?
A: We work with companies like YouTube, After School, Kik, Facebook and Instagram to seamlessly connect their users who are in crisis to our trained Crisis Counselors. We also do cause marketing campaigns with brands who want to raise money and/or awareness for Crisis Text Line.
Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.
Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?
Q: WHO DO I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?
A: Email email@example.com
Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?
A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:
- Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
- Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
- Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year
Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?
A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week.
Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?
A: Crisis Counselors graduate from a six-week program that includes: online video modules that cover (a) specific skills such as good contact techniques; (b) issues such as self-harm, suicide, depression, bullying, and LGBTQ issues, as well as quizzes, role plays, and observations shifts. Our training has been vetted by representatives from national organizations like American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Rape and Incest Network.
Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?
A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!
Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?
A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?
A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.
Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?
A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.
Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?
A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.
Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.