Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7, anonymous, and confidential national resource that connects texters with trained Crisis Counselors. The organization uses an innovative mobile technology platform that allows people to access help through their phones.

Research using CTL’s anonymized CC reports and voluntary texter surveys has contributed to knowledge about texters’ presenting psychosocial issues (Szlyk et al., 2020) and help-seeking behaviors among rural adolescents (Thompson et al., 2018).

Texting in a Crisis

If you’re in a crisis, you can text ‘HOME’ to 741741. A trained specialist will respond and have an open conversation with you about what’s happening. They will ask how you’re feeling, empathize with your situation and listen until both sides feel comfortable saying goodbye. They will also provide you with a resource to help you get further support, if needed.

Crisis Text Line volunteers undergo a background check and 30 hours of online training. They are overseen by full-time clinical supervisors with degrees in counseling, social work or human services. They are taught to listen rather than interrogate texters and to empathize with their situation. They also are encouraged to give the texter options and prompt them to identify pros and cons of each option.

The goal of a conversation is to get the person to a “cool, safe place.” That may mean identifying resources for further help or simply being there for someone to talk to.

Texting in a Suicide Crisis

Getting help for yourself or your friend in a suicidal crisis can be scary. But you can reach out to a free national service for support over text. It’s safe, confidential, and anonymous. Just text TALK to 741-741 and you’ll connect with a trained Crisis Counselor.

They can listen, reflect, and empathize with you. They can also help you find healthy coping methods for dealing with your feelings, such as talking about them or reaching out to a friend, a crisis line, or a support group. They won’t encourage unhealthy coping, such as using drugs and alcohol or self-harming.

A Crisis Counselor can even call emergency services for you if you need it. During the conversation, you’ll answer questions about how you’re feeling and if you’re in immediate danger. Based on that, they can decide what to do next. Then they’ll send you a survey about your experience, to make sure you had a helpful and hopeful chat.

Texting in an Anxiety Crisis

If you’re having an anxiety crisis, there are a few options for help. Many hotlines may assist with in-the-moment needs and can connect you to mental health resources, including treatment programs and support groups.

Texting a hotline can be difficult for someone with texting anxiety, which is characterized by fear of sending or receiving texts. These people often turn off notifications and avoid group texts, as they feel they can’t handle the incoming messages. They also struggle to read body language or facial expressions when communicating through text.

The first step of reaching out to a crisis line can be the hardest, but it’s also one of the bravest things you can do. Crisis lines are staffed by trained volunteers who are there to listen and help you find local resources. They’re here to help, and they’ll never judge you. And they’ll always keep your conversation private and confidential.

Texting in a Depression Crisis

Texters are invited to text HOME to 741741, and can start a back-and-forth texting conversation with a trained Crisis Counselor. They can share as much or as little as they want to, and the Crisis Counselor will listen to them. The goal of the conversation is to get the texter to a “cool calm” place, and usually that means referring them to local mental health resources. After the conversation, the texter will receive an optional survey asking about their experience.

Taking that first step to ask for help is one of the bravest things a person can do. These free, national services offer empathetic support and access to local resources. They meet young people where they are — in their homes, at their schools, or even in their pockets. This is a powerful tool that can save lives. It’s not just for depression crises, but can be used for any kind of crisis that may arise in someone’s life.