“Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis.”
Crisis Text Line (CTL) was founded by Nancy Lublin in 2013. You can watch her TED Talk. I first found out about it in a spring issues of Marie Claire Magazine. When I first read about it I was immediately excited. It was right around the time that news stories came out about people in domestic violence situations who couldn’t call for help ordering pizza and sending message covertly. There are so many times when it’s too difficult to call for help because someone might overhear or just because sometimes it’s mentally easier to not have to say your problems out loud. I know I’ve had moments when I couldn’t speak without sobbing and texting would have been a welcome alternative.
The other thing that excited me about CTL is that it’s very data driven. I’m a bit of a nerd and think that gathering the data will only help us be better at helping in the future. They publish the data they collect here. You can see what issues come up when, where people are texting from, and even what time of day certain issues come up. If we want to end suicide, hate crimes, domestic and sexual abuse, etc, we need to know everything we can about it. By collecting and sharing the data CTL is helping more than those who text in.
Recently the cell phone carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, & Verizon showed their support by waving all charges for texts to CTL and making it so that CTL will not show up on cell phone statements. Crisis Text Line also works to refer texters to wonderful organizations like TWLOHA, RAINN, & The Trevor Project.
So now that you know how amazing CTL is – what can you do to help?
- Spread the Word
- Tell everyone to text 741741 when in crisis. Anywhere, anytime. You never know what someone might be going through or when someone might need it. It’s nice to know someone is there 24/7 to help when you need it. Post this flyer – CTLTexterFlyer
- Along with volunteer counselors we have amazing supervisors, trainers, and techs. The backend of the platform is sophisticated and always improving and needs financial support to do that.
- You can send your tax-deductible donations via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
Crisis Text Line
Attn: Finance Dept.
24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10010
- Being a volunteer is as difficult as it is rewarding. After an extensive application process about a third of those that apply are chosen. There is a six week training process and time shadowing current volunteers followed by a final exam before you go live with texters. You need to commit to four hours a week for a year. The training is wonderful and full of support as is the volunteer experience week to week. That said it is a huge commitment. There are the four hours on the platform, you’ll have hundreds of challenging and not always rewarding conversations over the year. You’ll need time to debrief and you’ll become an expert and self-care in your own life. It’s challenging to say the least. Conversations can be difficult for so many reasons from tragic situations to people who aren’t ready to accept help to the sheer volume of those reaching out to crisis that may remind you of your own. But. But there are moments when you know you’ve helped someone at one of the lowest points of their life and you feel like a superhero. You can be a superhero!
- More information about Volunteering can be found here.
I’m so excited to be a part of this organization. Please consider getting involved and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have.