I have been volunteering with the Crisis Text Line since the beginning of November, I did all my training in October, and I have been loving the experience. The training was incredibly helpful, but I was still nervous about that first conversation with a texter. Although I was anxious, I knew exactly how to talk to them. It has become easier over time and I absolutely love volunteering my time to the Crisis Text Line. I’ve been able to make a real difference in the world and be able to help people who are struggling. So, before I jump into everything about the Crisis Text Line, let me answer some basic questions.
What is the Crisis Text Line?
Well, the Crisis Text Line is a non-profit organization that offers free, 24/7 crisis support in the U.S.
Who can use the Crisis Text Line?
If you, or someone you know, has ever been in a time of crisis and you want to speak to someone, a real-live person, the Crisis Text Line is a perfect place for you. It doesn’t have to be in a time where you’re actively thinking about self-harm or suicide. We can talk to you during those times, but even just a stressful situation with home, work, friends, family, relationships, etc. We have training on a lot of topics and we are ready to hear from you and support you.
How does the Crisis Text Line work?
First, when you text a code word (HOME or START) to 741741, you will receive a couple of automated messages just letting you know that someone will be responding to you shortly and asking you to give a brief synopsis of what’s going on and your current situation. A Crisis Counselor is not a professional, we are just volunteers who have trained to help bring you from a hot moment to a cool moment through support, but not medical advice.
Depending on the time you text (we usually receive more texters on weekends and in the evenings) it normally takes less than five minutes to get you connected with a Crisis Counselor.
When you have been connected to a Crisis Counselor, they’ll introduce themselves, reflect on what you’ve said, and invite you to share at your own speed. We will not force anything out of you. You can feel comfortable to share what you want. The Crisis Text Line is a safe, secure, and confidential platform. Nothing you say will be shared with anyone unless you state that you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else. Your Crisis Counselor will help you talk through your emotions by asking questions, empathizing, and actively and reflectively listening to you.
The conversation usually concludes when both you and the Crisis Counselor feel content deciding that you’re in a “cool,” safe place. When your conversation is finished, you’ll have the option to take a survey about your experience with the Crisis Text Line and your Crisis Counselor. This feedback and encouragement will help us to help others like you!
The aim of any discussion is to get you to a peaceful, secure place.
Sometimes that means presenting you with a referral to give you extra help, and sometimes it just means being there and listening to you. A conversation normally lasts anywhere from 15-45 minutes.
For more information about the Crisis Text Line, visit their website at https://www.crisistextline.org/. If you, or someone you know, is in a time of crisis, please text HOME to 741741 and a trained Crisis Counselor will contact you as quickly as they can.
By Sara Corcoran, Undergrad Counseling Intern
Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.