In this time of uncertainty and heightened stress, many young people need someone to talk to. With texting, anyone can reach a trained Crisis Counselor for free, confidential support.
In 2020, Crisis Text Line had 1.4 million conversations with people in crisis. These conversations revealed that people struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and more.
What is Crisis Text Line?
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 emotional support through text messaging with a trained specialist. It is available in the United States and is completely anonymous. Individuals in crisis can contact the service by texting “HOME” to 741741. The goal is to help you get to a calm, safe place through a back and forth conversation. You can share as much or as little as you want to, and the conversation typically ends when both you and a Crisis Counselor feel comfortable.
New York State has partnered with the nonprofit to make Crisis Text Line services available for its residents. The service is free but standard messaging fees apply. To start a conversation, text GOT5 to 741741, or STEVE to 741741, which is reserved for young people of color, and you will be connected with a Crisis Counselor. The service also provides data about the most common issues texters discuss. High anxiety rates are the number one issue, and they rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grief and loss are the second most common topic, followed by eating and body image issues.
A crisis line, also known as a hotline or helpline, is a free resource that provides immediate support and emotional help. These services are available 24/7 through a phone call, online chat or text message. They connect people with trained Crisis Counselors who can offer support and information. The service is anonymous and confidential, and the number does not appear on a user’s mobile data bill.
Texters can ask the counselor for resources or for support, and the back-and-forth conversation lasts as long as the person needs it to. The counselor can also help them create a safety plan, or refer them to local services that may be available. In less than 1% of cases, the counselor will alert emergency services.
The nonprofit Crisis Text Line partners with organizations to deliver its service. For example, the Steve Fund created a keyword called STEVE that young people of color can text to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
A Crisis Counselor will text you back, answer your questions and listen to you for as long as you need. They are trained to de-escalate situations and help you identify local resources to meet your needs. They will never judge you or tell you what to do.
Busy schedules, bills, relationships, and family responsibilities can be a lot to handle all at once. You can text “Got5” to 741741 to be connected with a trained Crisis Counselor. They can also talk to you about someone else you know who might be having a hard time.
Lublin emphasized that the service would not be selling any data to Loris. In fact, she was confident that the nonprofit would not share any of its conversational AI insights with the commercial company. She even shared a story about how Freshly, a meal delivery company, used Loris to train their customer support representatives to be more empathetic and effective.
Crisis Text Line is a global not-for-profit organization that provides free mental health texting services. Anyone can text 741741, and they will be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. The service is available 24 hours a day, every day.
Crisis counselors are taught to empathize with texters, rather than interrogate them. They ask questions when necessary, but they never force the person to talk about anything they don’t want to. Counselors also encourage texters to think about possible solutions to their problems, but they don’t tell them what to do.
The nonprofit doesn’t share users’ information with third parties for profit, but it does partner with Loris, a conversational AI company that helps companies improve their customer support. Loris’s software leverages anonymized conversations to provide companies with insights about how their teams interact with customers. But the nonprofit has asked for all its user data from Loris to be deleted after a Politico story detailed how it used this information.