Crisis Text Line is a non-profit organization that provides free and anonymous text-based mental health support. People can text STEVE to 741741 and be connected with a trained volunteer counselor.
In 2021, Crisis Text Line listened to 1.3 million conversations between people in crisis and their volunteer counselors. The top issues included relationship problems, depression and self-harm.
Free and anonymous
Helplines (also known as hotlines or crisis lines) provide immediate crisis counseling and emotional support – all for free. Most of the time, they are accessible via phone, text messaging or online chat. Some are available 24/7, so you can call or text them any time of day or night.
Using the service is easy. All you need to do is text IDM to 741741. You will then receive two automated messages telling you that a counselor is on their way and asking if you would like to share your story.
Your conversation with a Crisis Counselor is completely confidential. However, a Crisis Counselor is not your attorney, doctor or therapist and cannot provide medical care. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Crisis Text Line is currently only available in English, but options for Spanish-speaking and deaf-blind individuals are in development. You can also access the service through Facebook Messenger.
The stress of busy schedules, work, relationships, finances, maintaining a home and caring for children or grandchildren can be overwhelming. Texting can be an easy and comfortable way to communicate when you need someone to talk to.
A growing number of crisis lines offer texting support alongside traditional phone and chat services. For example, the Kids Help Line(opens in new tab), which helps teens with issues such as bullying and relationship trouble, lets them reach a counselor by texting 741741.
Similarly, the Trevor Project(opens in new tab), a suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline for LGBTQ youth, offers phone, chat and text services. These resources are available nationwide, 24/7 and are free, anonymous, and confidential. While there may be a wait to speak with a counselor, you are always connected to a trained individual who is committed to helping you navigate tough times and access resources. A crisis line can also provide you with information about local support services.
Working with Crisis Text Line is not only an amazing way to help people in a time of need but also is a great way to gain volunteer hours and build your resume. In addition, it helps you develop emotional intelligence and self-awareness. This kind of work is eye opening and humbling. You never know what each person is going through but they can all use a little relief from the stress of their daily lives.
When someone texts “Got5” or “got5u” to 741741, they’re connected with a trained counselor. They’ll get two automated responses that tell them they’re being connected with a counselor and invite them to share more. The counselor will then ask questions and empathize with the person. They’ll try to get them to a calm, safe place.
They may suggest resources if the texter has a limited support system or needs to find a longer-term solution. They will then validate the person’s feelings and remind them that they can text again if they need to.
Text 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. You can use the service for any issue that’s causing you stress, including suicidal thoughts, depression, bullying, addiction, relationship issues, or other crises.
The conversations are confidential and anonymous. Crisis counselors don’t ask about your name or other identifying information. Instead, they empathize with the situation and provide emotional support. They also encourage texters to identify options and weigh pros and cons.
While Crisis Text Line can help during a moment of crisis, it’s not a replacement for therapy. Therapy involves a doctor-patient relationship and can be long-term. But crisis counseling helps you through a difficult time, and creates an action plan to feel better. It’s important to know that you can contact the service as often as needed.