Crisis Text Line – Empowering People in Crisis Through Text Messaging

Crisis Text Line

When it launched in 2013, Crisis Text Line offered support to people in crisis via a medium that most of them already trusted. People could reach out to counselors while on their way to class or waiting for the bus.

But the work isn’t without its challenges. Some staffers, particularly those of color, felt mistreated by founder Nancy Lublin.

What is the Crisis Text Line?

The Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, high-quality mental health support through a community of trained volunteers. Its mission is to reduce suicide and other crisis-related harm by empowering people with access to safe and effective care through text. It also advocates for empathy as the best way to tackle the nation’s growing mental health epidemic.

In its annual United in Empathy Report 2022, Crisis Text Line reveals valuable insights into the mental health issues that most often burden its texters and the coping tools they use to get through their struggles. Relationships emerged as the most common source of stress, with 1 in 3 texters discussing relationship strain or dysfunction. Other concerns included financial issues, addiction and bullying.

To get help, text “BRAVE” to 741741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Facebook users can even chat with a counselor from the Lifeline via Messenger — a service that’s encrypted and anonymous, so only your words are shared with a counselor.

How do I get help?

A Crisis Counselor will respond to your text and then begin a back-and-forth conversation with you. They will listen to you and ask questions to understand what’s going on, and they will offer resources. The goal of the conversation is to get you to a calm, safe place. The average conversation lasts 45-60 minutes.

If you are in a life-threatening situation or in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately. Crisis lines are not designed to replace emergency services or serve as a legal advocate.

If you are in emotional distress and need help navigating community resources, call 988 (or text Got5U to 741741 for New York students) or check out this helpful guide. If you are looking for support in a non-crisis emergency, please contact your local mental health or suicide prevention hotline. You can also contact 211 (which is free and available in 180 languages) to find information about long-term mental health treatment options in your area.

What is the Crisis Text Line’s mission?

The mission of the Crisis Text Line is to empower people in crisis by providing empathetic support and connection to essential resources, using a medium they already use and trust: text messaging. The organization aims to make a lasting impact on mental health and well-being by using innovative technology to address unmet needs, including those faced by teens.

The platform provides a safe space for individuals to share their concerns with trained Crisis Counselors. The service is free of charge and operates 24/7. Crisis Text Line counselors are trained to de-escalate a situation, empower callers, and help them problem-solve their challenges. They also work with callers to create safety plans and alert emergency services when necessary.

Across different culture dimensions, Crisis Text Line employees rate the company highly. Employees are most satisfied with Professional Development, but they have the least positive opinion about their manager’s leadership. The CEO’s approval rating is below average, putting it in the Bottom 15% of similar sized companies on Comparably.

What is the Crisis Text Line’s service?

The service enables people in crisis to text a number for support, allowing them to avoid calling 911 or seeking out help in person. A trained Crisis Counselor responds within minutes to help defuse the situation, create a safety plan and connect the person to resources in their community. Emergency services are only dispatched in less than 1% of crises.

Texters receive a personalized conversation with a trained crisis counselor, who will listen and empathize, but will not tell the user what to do or give them medical advice. The average session lasts for 45-60 minutes.

Crisis Text Line is the largest crisis counseling text line in the United States and serves a highly distressed population that skews young, rural, and low-income. Understanding who uses this resource will be important as the national 988 crisis number, launching in 2022, expands access to care to include the use of text messaging. The current study will examine the characteristics of texters served by CTL.