Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is a free, confidential, and anonymous 24/7 support service that provides mental health support through text messaging. It is operated by a network of nonprofit organizations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Many users identified the texting format as a significant advantage over calling hotlines because it allows them to access support in times and spaces where it may be uncomfortable or unsafe to speak aloud.

What is Crisis Text Line?

The State University of New York has partnered with Crisis Text Line, a free, anonymous, nationwide service that provides mental health support via text. Individuals can text “GOT5” or “GOT5U” to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor. They can talk about anything: relationships, bullying, school stress, money worries, suicidal thoughts, homelessness – whatever is going on.

The program is specifically targeted to youth of color because they are often under-served and at-risk of mental illness and/or suicide. SUNY has already started promoting the service, and it will continue to do so throughout the pandemic. The campus community can learn more about Crisis Text Line by visiting its website. The college has also provided Crisis Text Line information on its mental health resource page and in its email newsletter. SUNY will also distribute flyers and include this information in student handbooks, counselors’ offices, and clinic waiting rooms. This is a valuable resource during this difficult time.

It’s free

Crisis Text Line’s service is free and you don’t have to provide your name, age or any other identifying information. Your conversations are text only – no voice or video – and your conversations are encrypted so that nobody can read your messages.

A typical conversation with a counselor lasts 45 to 60 minutes, but your session can be as short or as long as you like. The goal is to get you to a calm and safe place, whether that means providing resources for further help or simply listening and being there for you.

You can text about absolutely anything – from suicidal thoughts to the stress of a breakup, or even if you’re not in a crisis but know someone who is and want to help them. Crisis Counselors are trained to empathize and will listen to you without judgment. They will also not push you to talk about something that’s not comfortable for you.

It’s anonymous

In the age of text messaging, crisis lines are increasing their focus on helping people through a variety of channels including phone and text. These services are not only convenient, but offer a level of anonymity that many users feel comfortable with.

We analyzed the data of texters to determine key characteristics of those who use CTL, the largest crisis text service in the US. Our findings show that CTL users are predominantly young, with 76% of texters being under the age of 24.

If you’re in a difficult situation or just need someone to listen, text GOT5U (for SUNY students) or STEVE (for young people of color) to 741741 and connect with a trained Crisis Counselor. This is a free, anonymous service available 24/7. Learn more about how to get help here. You will receive two automated replies informing you that you’ve been connected with a Crisis Counselor and a link to our Privacy Policy.

It’s confidential

You do not have to share any information you don’t want to. Crisis counselors are trained to de-escalate situations and help texters connect to services locally. They will only alert emergency services in less than 1% of crises.

SUNY students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use this service when they’re having a hard time. They can text Got5U to 741-741 or use the app to talk with a counselor. The counselors can help with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other emotional challenges.

Both the Crisis Text Line and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are accessible through Facebook Messenger. These conversations are encrypted and anonymous, so your counselor won’t be able to see your name or other identifying information. In addition, these conversations can be used as a bridge to a face-to-face meeting with a mental health professional or medical doctor. For more information about these services, check out SUNY’s new mental health resource page found here.