Crisis Text Line

The Cool Calm

The Cool Calm is the Crisis Text Line blog. Insights, data, stories, and other looks at our work in crisis intervention and technology.

100 Things We Learned From Our First 100M Messages

 

One hundred million messages is a LOT. It represents five and half years of hard work, a lot of lines of code, and a ton of love.

In honor of all this amazingness, we’ve rounded up 100 fun facts, interesting stats, and  impactful data.

  1. 741741 makes a straight line up the left side of the keypad. We wanted our number to be as easy as possible to remember and type.

  2. Back when we launched in 2013, we took 3,000 conversations during our first month. Today, we handle more than 3,000 conversations every day.

  3. We spent five and a half years getting to 100 million messages. We project that it will take 11 months to process the next 100 million.

  4. Our texters are some of the poorest people in America. We know this because 20% of our volume comes from areas with the lowest per capita income in the country.

  5. In 2018, our Crisis Counselors spent 412,425 hours helping people in crisis. That’s $10,182,773  worth of time, according to the Independent Sector value of a volunteer hour.

  6. We’re helping a lot of Native Americans and Native Alaskans. Nearly 6% of our texters identify this way—although only 1.5% of America identifies as Native American/Native Alaskan.

  7. We “Always Ask.” This policy encourages Crisis Counselors to ask texters about suicidal thoughts and ideation, even if that’s not why they texted in. Our data inspired this change...and it actually improved texter-reported satisfaction!

  8. We over-index almost seven times the national population on trans texters, based on numbers from the Williams Institute at UCLA. They say that about 0.6% of adults identify as trans and ~4% of our texters identify that way.

  9. In December 2018, we had over 100,000 conversations in one month. It was our biggest month to date, thanks to some nice things said about us on social media.

  10. Our proprietary algorithms allow us to predict the severity of a texter based on machine learning analysis.  This means we take high risk texters in in under five minutes, even in high volume times. Learn more from its creator’s blog post.

  11. Thanks to our texter triage algorithm, we learned that words like “Ibuprofen,” “Tylenol,” and “bridge” are four times more likely to lead to high-risk conversations than “suicide” or “shooting.”

  12. Texters under the age of 18 are more likely to be people of color.

  13. We have one of the largest real-time mental health data sets in the world. We share aggregated and anonymized data at  Crisis Trends. This allows for researchers, journalists, and everyday people to learn and change.

  14. Our data shows that conversations about suicide peak Sunday nights and are at the lowest on Fridays and Saturdays.

  15. We’re expecting ten academic papers to go out in the next 18 months, all from data fellows and partner institutions that have been utilizing our data corpus.

  16. Both floors of our office have feedback from our texters painted on the walls. We get off the elevators and are reminded of why we work here.

  17. The number one conversation topic we see is Depression/Sadness. Relationships are a close second.

  18. Sixty-five percent of texters tell our Crisis Counselors something that they’ve never told anyone else before.

  19. We received our first international text at 5 pm local time in Manitoba, Canada on February 15th, 2018. Our amazing partner running Crisis Text Line in Canada is the org Kids Help Phone.

  20. During 2018, 30% of our daily convos came during between 10 pm and 2 am.

  21. If you haven’t already heard about the text that inspired it all, stop what you are doing, and watch Nancy’s Ted Talk.

  22. Our office has a Harry Potter theme. The conference rooms are named after Hogwarts Houses, and even our bathrooms have great names. Our favorite? Moaning Myrtle, which is one of the bathrooms. (There is even a phone booth called Shrieking Shack.)

  23. In June 2016, we created an International team. By the end of 2021, we’re hoping to have affiliates in 15 countries.

  24. Our texters age 13 and under are more likely to be of color and identify as LGBTQ+.

  25. From July 2015 to July 2016, Crisis Text Line grew the staff, from 17 to 48. We’re about to break 100! (That’s right, there are only 100 full-time staff running this whole operation.)

  26. The Golden Gate Bridge, which has been a hotspot for suicide attempts, was one of our first West Coast partners. We have handled more than 400 conversations with texters using the keyword GGB to 741741.

  27. Texters from Kentucky, South Carolina, and West Virginia are the most likely to text us about issues with gender or sexual identity.

  28. Our platform is integrated directly into the Crisis Text Line Facebook page. People in crisis can reach our Crisis Counselors directly by messaging our Facebook page. This helps us further our mission of meeting people where they are, which is often on social media.

  29. Forty percent of our current full-time staff started out as Crisis Counselors. Did we mention that we're hiring?

  30. We see the highest number of conversations about bullying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

  31. Texters age 65+ are twice as likely to text us about grief.

  32. Texters contacting us through Facebook are almost 2X more likely to be over the age of 55.

  33. After being accepted, volunteers are assigned a Coach who helps them through training and when they become a Crisis Counselor assists them with any off-platform questions.

  34. More than 30% of our conversations about eating and body image come at the beginning of the week.

  35. We get the most texts from active military/veteran texters in August and September, which is smack dab in the middle of permanent change of station season when a lot of military families are moving.

  36. Texters over 25 tend to reach out early in the morning rather than late at night. The opposite is true for texters under 25.

  37. Pizza Tracker (yes, it was inspired by the Domino’s pizza tracker) launched in May 2017. This product allows Crisis Counselor and Supervisors to see the progress of an active rescue.

  38. Native American texters are 50% more likely than our general population to text us about Gender/Sexual Identity and Self Harm.

  39. Community is important to us. That’s why we created a Mighty Network forum just for our Crisis Counselors. The most popular threads are self care tips and photos of pets.

  40. Do you stay up late during the summer? We do too - we see the most overnight texts during July and August.

  41. Our texters feel the loneliest on Sunday and Monday nights. The loneliest states? Florida and Mississippi.

  42. Loris.ai is a spin-off from Crisis Text Line! Loris.ai takes our training insights and data to build products that will help the world’s biggest companies become more empathetic. It’s named after the Loris, a slow-moving animal with a deadly bite (just like how handling conversations badly can be deadly to your company)

  43. Conversations mentioning social media are 3x more likely to be from a texter who is worried about another person.

  44. Texters contacting us during lunch time are more likely to be between 25-54.

  45. Only 20% of our conversations with texters who are thinking about suicide actually end up in an active rescue. That means four out of five times, our Crisis Counselors are able to help texters come up with a safety plan.

  46. We have the most Black/African-American texters from Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Maryland. (Overall, ~12% of our texters identify as Black/African-American.)

  47. In the next 18 months, we will launch in: Ireland, Australia, and South Africa. Are you an entrepreneur who is looking to change the mental health game in your country?  Email international@crisistextline.org.

  48. We tend to have more conversations about school during the week.

  49. Texters age 65+ are more likely to be male, straight, and Middle Eastern.

  50. College age texters contact us most during April, right in the middle of midterms’ and finals’ season.

  51. Our texters age 13 and under are three times as likely to text us about bullying and twice as likely to text us about gender and sexual identity.

  52. Crisistrends.org data mirrors the national conversation, especially regarding substance abuse in the Midwest. Six out of the ten states that talk the most about substance abuse are in the Midwest.

  53. Texters tend to be slightly older during the summer. Our over age 18 texters increase by four percentage points in the summer.

  54. Our service isn’t only for people struggling with suicide. Suicide isn’t even in our top three issues. (The top three issues are depression, relationships, and anxiety….suicide is fourth.)

  55. We get the most military and veteran texters from South Carolina, Hawaii, and Alabama.

  56. Almost one in five of our conversations include some discussion of parenting. Those convos  tend to peak in the summer when kids are home from school (Guess everyone has a rough time sharing one roof).

  57. Texters during the winter text us less about suicidal thoughts, slightly higher numbers of conversations about anxiety and depression.

  58. During the November 2016 election night, we were swamped with 4X our average volume. The biggest surge we saw came from issues including LGBTQ+, sexual assault, and immigration.

  59. Even though we had a big spike in volume during the 2016 election night, the average wait time for a high-risk texter that night was 39 seconds.

  60. During our big social media spike in December 2018, we had 10X average number of conversations from Puerto Rico.

  61. Parents contacting us are 2.7X more likely to talk about finances. (No parent we have shared this fact with has ever expressed surprise by this.)

  62. Male texters are 2.5X more likely to text about gender and sexual identity issues.

  63. Texters above the age of 55 are twice as likely to be veterans.

  64. One in five texters over the age of 55 is texting us about loneliness/isolation.

  65. Our oldest Crisis Counselor is 84 years old. (We love our older Crisis Counselors!)

  66. The most common female name for our Crisis Counselors is Sarah. We have 374 Sarahs. (and 132 that don’t use an h at the end!)

  67. And the most common male name is Michael. We have 129 Michaels.

  68. Washington is home to the nicest people on earth. How is that a fact? It has the highest concentration of Crisis Counselors per capita.

  69. We’ve trained almost 20,000 Crisis Counselors! Ready to join? Learn more about how to become an empathy MVP with us.

  70. Our Crisis Counselors favorite type of dessert is Pumpkin Pie. (Yes, we asked.)

  71. Winter is NOT the worst time for suicidal ideation. We actually see the most conversations about suicidal thoughts in the spring.

  72. Our founder and CEO (Nancy) is a huuuuge Hello Kitty fan. Her collection decorates the wall of one of our conference rooms.

  73. When a new product launches, we bang a giant gong in the office. We also have a meeting to celebrate everyone who has worked on it.

  74. We see our highest rates of Native American texters from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Montana, and South Dakota.

  75. Texters 55+ are more than twice as likely to text us out of concern for someone else. Looks like older and wiser is definitely a thing.

  76. Crisis Text Line’s brand color is Pantone Color 185C. Or hex code #eb4014 if that’s more your style. Otherwise known as “red.”

  77. In August 2018, Chief Data Scientist Bob Filbin was named a co-founder of the organization.

  78. Our staff is located in five hubs: NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Barcelona, and Durham, North Carolina. (We’re on Google Hangouts a lot.)

  79. Conversations coming in through Facebook are 2X as likely to be conversations from texters who are worried about someone else.

  80. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are the most stressed out states. (Oddly, both our Co-Founders are from New England...and are not surprised by this fact.)

  81. We have over 130 active partners on the local, regional, and national level. These partners market our service in their area, and we support their community (and provide data along the way). Sound like a good deal? Check out our keyword partnerships page to learn more.

  82. Our Crisis Counselors’ favorite TV shows is “This Is Us.” (We have an office Slack channel dedicated to the show.)

  83. Conversations about grief peak during the month of December.

  84. Following the Parkland shooting, one of our Crisis Counselors showed up at Marjory Stoneman Douglas to share our service with their students and administration. This led to a partnership with students from Broward County Schools. These students can text FL to 741741.

  85. Our staff has Valentine’s Day off because self-love is important! (Yes, the service is still available and people who work on that day are paid holiday pay.)

  86. In Canada, Crisis Counselors are called Crisis Responders (They still do the same great work!)

  87. Our Puerto Rican texters are much more likely to text us during the day, whereas the continental US texts us at night.

  88. In 2018, we worked with five different universities on research studies that will help both our texters and our Crisis Counselors. Interested in working with our data? Check out our Open Data Collaboration program.

  89. We have an amazing Board of Directors. Some of our board members include DJ Patil, former Chief Data Scientist of the US, Elizabeth Cutler, founder of SoulCycle, and danah boyd, Principal Researcher at Microsoft.

  90. We’re now the second largest distributed network of active volunteers in the world. Bonus fact: The largest is Wikipedia.

  91. Texters mentioning social media are more likely to be above age 35. Maybe our younger texters have the secret to using social media in a healthy way?

  92. Our original plan was just build the software (SaaS) for existing crisis services. We launched in partnership with mental health centers in three cities. Then our fearless COO at the time (Baylee) and Founding Supervisor (Jen James) looked at the data and trained our own Crisis Counselors who were faster, cheaper, and received higher satisfaction ratings!

  93. Holiday blues are not a thing. Despite myths that everyone is crying into their eggnog, we see some of our lowest volume the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  94. Summertime sadness is a thing. We see a surge from LGBTQ+ texters who may be back home with unaccepting families. Some of the words we see include: lesbian, virginity, and dumped.

  95. Following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris in 2015, we had six times the volume of conversations about harassment and bullying from our Muslim texters.

  96. Colorado, Vermont, and Montana have some of the best friends - they’re the states that have the most conversations coming from people who are worried about someone else.

  97. We launched in two cities only: Chicago and El Paso. Four months and zero marketing dollars later, we were receiving texts from all 295 area codes. Boom. Organic growth.

  98. It’s fake news that young people don’t experience severe crises. Our youngest texters (13 years old and under) text us about self-harm at two times the rest of our population.

  99. There’s some major girl power happening here. Eighty percent of our Crisis Counselors are female.

  100. Crisis Counselors’ Best Friend? 17% of our Crisis Counselors count on their pets for self-care  during or after their shift. (Sounds like a good excuse to get a pet. Just saying.)

And a bonus #101. The amount of gratitude we feel for our Crisis Counselors who made it possible to reach this milestone? INFINITY AND BEYOND! All the love.