Text BADGE to 741741, and you will be connected with a trained Crisis Counselor. This solution is free and confidential for Responders and their families.
Crisis Text Line does not provide medical advice, diagnose conditions or recommend medications. Its counselors are volunteers. Their work is empathetic and respectful. It is never invasive or coercive.
Texting in a Crisis
Texting is a more natural way to talk than a phone call, especially for younger people who feel more comfortable with texting. Whether someone is feeling down or in a crisis, a simple text message can reach them and help them get the support they need.
For example, a person in crisis may be struggling with anxiety or stress due to work, school or family responsibilities. This is a common issue that Crisis Text Line sees in their conversations. The organization has seen a rise in anxiety levels over the COVID-19 pandemic, and these anxieties are not going away.
Crisis counselors try to meet their texters where they are at and empower them to solve their problems. This might mean helping them find resources in their area, a hotline or a counselor. Crisis responders also use reflection to show the person in crisis they’re listening and trying to understand them. This is a critical step in building trust.
Texting with a Counselor
The Steve Fund partners with Crisis Text Line to encourage young people of color to use the service, which provides 24/7 support via text and live chat. Those who text “STEVE” to 741741 can be connected to a trained counselor, or a volunteer will respond with resources for their specific needs.
In most cases, a counselor will connect within five minutes of the person reaching out to the service. They will send a reply letting the person know they’ve been assigned a counselor and asking them to share what’s happening — at their own pace.
At the end of the conversation, the counselor will check in with the person again to assess how they’re feeling and remind them that they can reach out again. They will also provide information on local supports, including telebehavioral health programs and emergency services, for the person. Crisis Text Line responders do not reveal the person’s name or location, though they may ask if the texter is a danger to themselves or others.
Texting with a Friend
Texting can be a great way to keep in touch with friends when they are going through tough times. However, it can also feel like a one-way street. When your friend texts you something that is personal and serious, don’t just reply “yeah,” or “uh huh.” Try to be fully engaged in the conversation.
If you aren’t sure what to say, try asking how they are doing and if they need any help. If the situation is urgent, you can also call 911 or go to a local emergency room.
Crisis Text Line is a non-profit organization that connects people with trained counselors through SMS messages. Their national data report from 2021 identifies the most common topics discussed during text conversations. This year, they saw an increase in the number of texters discussing grief and bereavement. They also noticed that eating and body image issues continued to be top concerns among young texters. The service is free and anonymous, though standard messaging rates may apply.
Texting with a Volunteer
Texting with a volunteer helps people connect to others who are ready to listen without judgement. Volunteers are trained to listen and deescalate, then connect texters with support locally – and they do so within 13 seconds on average.
Volunteers help us connect to more people and provide them with hope during times of crisis. But it’s not always easy to make the time commitment for volunteering. Volunteers often balance a full-time job with their own family and other volunteer activities.
To recruit and retain volunteers, a nonprofit needs to offer a flexible schedule that fits theirs. Using a tool like Relay, nonprofits can easily automate signup reminders and informational messages that let volunteers choose their preferred time slots. In addition, they can communicate with volunteers via group text to share the big picture – such as how their participation is contributing to overall campaign goals – and inspire them to keep at it. This keeps their motivation high and improves their experience.