Saving Lives via Text Message

December 15, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


In the four years since it was founded, Crisis Text Line has exchanged 50 million text messages with users. The crisis intervention service provides free, around-the-clock support to people who are struggling with issues such as self-harm or suicidal thoughts. By analyzing text message data, Crisis Text Line researchers have identified the words most associated with suicide risk and helped ensure that messages from the highest-risk users get answered first. Data have also revealed user trends, showing that the majority of texters are female and under age 25. Users also tend to be from rural and low-income demographics, and to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. According to founder Nancy Lublin, while Crisis Text Line counselors are not equipped to offer ongoing therapy, the support and referrals that they provide can make a lasting difference in a user’s life. “Many of these things, it’s a hot moment where you can be tipped to a healthy decision or an unhealthy decision,” she said.

Spark Extra! Learn more about Crisis Text Line.