Crisis Text Line

The free and confidential Crisis Text Line offers support through texting with trained counselors. Whether you’re experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, a Crisis Counselor is ready to listen.

Recent research using CTL anonymized data has explored distinct classes of texters who report suicidality based on their presenting psychosocial issues (Szlyk et al., 2020).

Free and confidential

Crisis Lines are free and confidential, and your conversations with counselors are private. They will not contact your parents, the police, or anyone else unless they suspect that you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. They are also trained to understand your issues and provide support. They can help you move from a hot moment to a cool one, and they can connect you to local resources.

When you text BRAVE to 741741, you will be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor within minutes. They will introduce themselves and ask you about your situation. They will then invite you to share at your own pace, and they will listen and respond. The conversation will usually end when you and the counselor feel that you are in a safe place. They will also send you a survey asking for feedback on your experience.


Helplines (also known as hotlines or crisis lines) provide immediate crisis counseling and support, free of charge. They can be accessed by telephone, through online chat, or text message. Many are available 24/7 and are multilingual. The Health Department has partnered with Crisis Text Line, a free, nationwide, anonymous texting service that is available 24/7.

Busy schedules, balancing work and family, paying bills, and maintaining a home can be overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can text “HOME” to 741741 and receive a reply from one of their trained counselors.

Unlike traditional hotlines, crisis texts are confidential and can be sent anytime, anywhere. A counselor will text you back to understand your situation and how it is affecting you. They will then use active listening and collaborative problem solving to help you navigate your current situation. They will also provide resources if necessary. If they determine that your situation is an emergency, they will contact first responders.

Licensed and trained counselors

Unlike traditional telephone hotlines, the text-based crisis line provides people in need with the flexibility of a mobile phone. The service is available free of charge for AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon users. However, standard messaging rates may apply.

Licensed and trained volunteers volunteer their time to provide support via texting. They receive 30 hours of training and are overseen by supervisors who are clinical professionals. They must undergo a background check and pass a psychological evaluation.

Applicants can apply for the service by visiting its website. Those who are accepted must complete the online training. They can then schedule their shifts on the platform, which are typically 2-hour blocks. However, it is important to keep in mind that you should not volunteer for more than 12 hours a week, as this could cause you to become overwhelmed. The organization also offers training to help its counselors stay safe during their conversations with people in need.

HIPAA compliance

Crisis Text Line volunteers are trained to de-escalate the situation and work with the texter to create a safety plan. They will alert emergency services in less than 1% of crises. This is done in collaboration with the texter and based on their assessment of the person in crisis.

While the organization claims that it’s HIPAA compliant, it’s not clear what this means in practice. Independent technology companies are not subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulations, which set strict privacy and security standards.

It seems that the organization did a complete ethical turn-around on its promise not to use conversations as data in 2016. It even formed a for-profit corporation to develop its own customer service software. This is unacceptable. It is not the responsibility of individuals in crisis to read a 4000+ word Terms of Service & Privacy agreement. People who need help are often at their most vulnerable, and they deserve to be fully respected.