Volunteers at the Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line volunteers say that they gain important skills and experience by working with texters in crisis. They also learn about themselves and improve their relationships to others.

But if a person doesn’t trust that the service has their best interests at heart, they might not reach out. That could be dangerous.

What is the Crisis Text Line?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line provide free, 24/7, text-based mental health support and crisis intervention. Volunteer Crisis Counselors receive 30 hours of interactive training on reflective listening skills, risk assessment, collaborative problem solving and action planning. Their text conversations are monitored by salaried clinical staff.

The goal of any conversation is to get individuals to a cool, safe place, and counselors help them sort through their feelings by asking questions, empathizing and actively listening. They will also encourage the individual to identify options and weigh pros and cons.

It’s important to note that Crisis Text Line isn’t just about suicide prevention; it can be used for anything that might be causing distress, such as a breakup or job loss. It is available to anyone, any time. If someone texts STEVE to 741741, the NFHS’s designated keyword, a trained Crisis Counselor will respond. For more information, visit the Crisis Text Line website.

How do I use the Crisis Text Line?

Sometimes life feels overwhelming, and balancing school, work, finances and a family can be tough. If you or someone you know needs support, text BRAVE to 741741. Within minutes, you will be connected with a trained Crisis Counselor. This service is free, confidential, and 24/7.

The counselor will introduce themselves and ask how they can help. You can then begin sharing at your own pace. They will share resources, empathize and actively listen. Conversations typically last between 45 and 60 minutes. When you and the counselor feel like you are both in a calmer, safer place, the conversation will end.

Although emergency services are called in less than 1% of crises, a Crisis Counselor will always attempt to de-escalate the situation and help you create a safety plan. In some cases, they will contact emergency services on your behalf if needed. For example, if you express thoughts of suicide or self-harm. They will also work with you to determine the best options for getting help locally.

Can I get help from the Crisis Text Line?

Those who text BRAVE are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor (CC) who will help them de-escalate their situation and access resources. CCs are volunteers who have been trained through an extensive 30-hour program and closely supervised by salaried mental health staff.

Regardless of the nature of your text, a CC will ask you questions and listen to your responses to help you sort through your emotions. They will never force you to share anything that you don’t want to. Generally, conversations with a CC last about 45-60 minutes.

Crisis lines are meant to help with any kind of problem, whether it’s an emergency or something a bit more long-term. Both Crisis Text Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are free of charge, though standard messaging rates may apply. It’s important to note that neither service is a replacement for professional care or support. In cases of medical emergencies, contact 911 or a doctor.

What happens if I text the Crisis Text Line?

Working full time, raising kids and keeping a home can feel like a lot. And sometimes those responsibilities can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety that can be difficult to talk about.

Texting a crisis line can help with this. All you need to do is text the keyword BRAVE to 741741. Then, you’ll be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor who can offer support and provide resources. This service is free and your phone data usage won’t be tracked by your mobile carrier.

From there, you can have a back and forth texting conversation with the counselor. It’s up to you how much you want to share, and the counselor will always be there to listen and support you. They can also connect you to local services if needed. The organization says emergency services are dispatched in less than 1% of cases, but those situations are usually when the person has expressed intent to kill themselves, identified a method and/or access, is willing to collaborate on a safety plan and is unable to reach out to someone locally to help them get to a safe place.