In times of crisis, it is not uncommon to have thoughts rushing through your head, making you wonder if your experiences are valid enough to seek help.
Crisis Text Line is a text hotline that provides free 24/7 support by connecting texters with trained crisis counselors. With over one million conversations each year, Crisis Text Line supports thousands of texters daily.
Crisis Text Line is More Than a Suicide Hotline
In 2021, Crisis Text Line reported that texters primarily texted in about anxiety, stress, depression, sadness, relationships and school. Conversations on Crisis Text Line can be a place to vent, seek out resources or find out how to get emergency care.
For both adults and adolescents, mental health crises occur around the clock. No matter the time, Crisis Text Line is there, but there are peak windows. Longer wait times are common later at night as texters are often alone with their thoughts. For some texters, it is also safer to text in at night when no one is around.
Following a late-night conversation on the hotline, a texter left feedback saying, “It was very late and I appreciate being listened to and HEARD.” This is a shared sentiment from late-night texters as another texter shared, “I was crying and felt alone. [My crisis counselor] made me feel like I was loved and important!”
At night, the platform is busiest on Mondays and Tuesdays with 15.5% of texter volume occurring on Monday nights and 15.1% of texter volume occurring on Tuesday nights. In addition, members of the LGBTQ+ community make up the largest population of texters at night. These texters account for 57% of night texter volume according to Crisis Text Line’s 2021 annual report.
Crisis Text Line’s 2021 statistics show that night time conversations, “are 24% more likely to be tagged as high or medium risk by [Crisis Text Line’s] risk detection model than daytime conversations.” High and medium-risk conversations are pushed to the front of the queue so that volunteers can reach these texters faster. These texters are often at higher risk of suicide or self-harm.
Although the wait time may be longer, texters are never alone. While waiting, texters receive check-in prompts as well as a breathing GIF that they can use as a grounding exercise before being connected with a volunteer.
Spanish Crisis Services
While the majority of texters waiting to be connected with a trained crisis counselor speak English, some speak Spanish more comfortably.
This past year, Crisis Text Line launched services in Spanish, allowing a community with little access to mental health care, a space where they can receive support.
According to NAMI’s 2020 report, only 34% of Hispanic or Latinx adults with mental health diagnoses receive treatment, compared to 50% of white individuals. While this number may seem low, we must also remember that there is an even larger number of the Latinx community that never even receives a diagnosis. This means that the number of Latinx individuals receiving mental health treatment is really much lower.
In the United States, “only 5.5% of mental health providers administered services in Spanish” according to Crisis Text Line. This makes Crisis Text Line’s 24/7 Spanish text support an important resource for Spanish speaking texters.
With support being offered in both English and Spanish, texters can talk to a trained crisis counselor in a language that is comfortable to them during such a vulnerable time.
Volunteering for Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line not only helps those who text in, but many crisis counselors report that after volunteering for the hotline, they themselves are more likely to use the service as they have seen the service work for others.
After seeing feedback from texters saying things such as, “I felt like I had no one to disclose to how I feel so talking to you was a breath of fresh air. You are very much appreciated and I will forever be grateful” crisis counselors are able to see firsthand the level of support that Crisis Text Line provides.
By seeing how the hotline works, volunteers can identify their own safety levels and seek external support when they need it. Additionally, resources are available to share even when one is not volunteering. Many volunteers end up finding tools and skills that they work to incorporate into their own lives.
The training that volunteers receive is comparable to mental health first aid, allowing volunteers to better support their friends and family in crisis.
Access is Key
A report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) showed that 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 3 adolescents, aged 12-17, experienced a mental illness in 2020.
With a lack of access to mental health resources for so many, it is important that people have access to crisis support around the clock.
If you are questioning if what you are going through is a crisis or not, chances are it is. When in crisis, it is important to reach out for support. If you are in crisis, please remember that you are not alone. To connect with a trained crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line 24/7, you can text “HOME” to 741741.