Crisis Text Line Takes Suicide Prevention into the Age of Texting

August 12, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

USA Today

The national service Crisis Text Line (text 741-741), which provides anonymous and confidential crisis counseling via text message, has exchanged more than 19 million texts since it was founded three years ago, and collected data on mental health issues such as suicidal ideation, depression, and bullying. Originally established to reflect changing trends in communication methods, particularly among young people, the service has also seen popularity among those with limited access to traditional telephone hotlines. Said founder Nancy Lublin, “The biggest surprise, which probably comes out of my own naiveté, is how the deaf and hard of hearing have flocked to us. But not only as texters, but also as crisis counselors,” she said. The Text Line is staffed around-the-clock by trained counselors, more than 30 of whom are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Counselor Lily Rayne, who is deaf, said, “Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for mental health care, but when one feels completely overwhelmed, lost, and alone, it’s a point of connection and a way to get to a more stable frame of mind. This is not really something deaf people have had access to before.” 

Spark Extra! Learn more about suicide prevention among people with physical health problems or disabilities.