The 2010s arrived and left in what felt like only months instead of a decade. Fortunately for us, we’re exiting the 2010s inspired by all the powerful mental health moments this past decade has given us. In just the last ten years alone, we’ve seen a number of milestones that give us inspiration for the future and bring much-needed help to those in crisis.
Here are some of the ten most powerful moments in mental health of the 2010s:
- Affordable Care Act made mental health care more accessible – March 23, 2010
In 2010, the United States Government passed the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) that ensured mental health services were considered health essentials. This meant more people were eligible to seek out resources and services for their mental health. Additionally, the Under 26 clause meant that more people could stay insured with family plans.
- The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage – June 24, 2011
In the summer of 2011, the United States government legally recognized same-sex marriage. This was a historic landmark moment for the LGBTQA+ community, who have fought long and hard to have the same marital rights as everyone else. This marked a new period in America’s culture, one where anyone of any sexual orientation could find the same equality and freedom as the rest of the country.
- Crisis Text Line became the first hotline via text message – August 1, 2013
It all started when Nancy Lublin, then the CEO at Do Something, received a message from an anonymous texter asking for help in response to Do Something initiative. The message ended with the plea “r u there?”. She realized then that texting can be life-changing (and in some cases, saving). Nancy launched Crisis Text Line in 2013 as a way for people in crisis to get help without having to call in. Since then, Crisis Text Line has processed over 125 million messages from texters in crisis and continues to innovate so texters receive free and 24/7 help at their fingertips. And Crisis Text Line didn’t stop there—by building a hotline via text message, they also unlocked a juicy data corpus revealing how and why people are in pain in the world. The fully anonymized data is available at www.crisistrends.org.
- Opened Crisis Counselor recruitment – August 1st, 2015
After Crisis Text Line launched as a service, we pivoted our service model to improve our ability to help people in crisis and open opportunities for empathetic people everywhere to help texters. We decided to bring Crisis Counselors in-house developed our own training program that leaned into the idea of active listening and empathy to make our service even more effective. Years later and we have trained over 25,000 people as Crisis Counselors to take texters from a moment of crisis to a calm cool. We couldn’t be more grateful for our volunteers and the time they give us.
- “13 Reasons Why” started an important public conversation. – March 31, 2017
After the popular book was adapted into a Netflix original series, conversations about mental health in the public skyrocketed. Despite the controversial scenes in the show itself, many people were in support of making mental health a normalized topic in pop culture.
- Logic helped everyone remember how to get help with his song “1-800-273-TALK” – April 27, 2017
In the spring of 2017, Logic, an American rapper, made musical history when he released his song, ‘1-800-273-TALK’ (the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). It was a big pop-culture moment and one that led to many conversations about mental health and getting help. The song was nominated for two Grammy categories (Best Song and Video of the Year).
- The #MeToo Movement made waves – October 15, 2017
In the fall of 2017, the hashtag “#MeToo” (started by activist Tarana Burke in 2006) went viral on Twitter to point out how widespread sexual assault is across the world. Millions of women from all regions and backgrounds joined in the conversation, sharing personal stories with #MeToo. This prompted many to take notice of rape culture in the United States and pledge to make a difference.
- Crisis Text Line went global and launched Shout in the UK – May 9, 2019
In May of 2019, Crisis Text Line launched our United Kingdom branch, Give Us A Shout, after receiving funding assistance from Kensington Palace. Crisis Text Line was able to expand our mission and service overseas as we continue to help texters in crisis. Shout UK is now fully formed and running with their own number that UK texters can reach.
- Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams died by suicide.
After the tragic and devastating deaths of many public figures (Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams), there was an outpouring of people wanting to volunteer their time and energy to mental health organizations. America was able to band together in times of distress and pain to take action to ensure these sad losses never happen again. For Crisis Text Line, this meant having the highest volunteer commitment day in the organization’s history after Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain died, with 364 people starting applications to become Crisis Counselors.
- Merriam Webster added they/them to the dictionary – Sep 17, 2019
“They/them” had two major moments in 2019: Merriam Webster added “they/them” to the dictionary as a gender-neutral pronoun and “they/them” was named the most popular word of the year. It’s incredibly powerful to close out the decade, knowing that non-traditional pronouns are becoming part of mainstream conversation and getting universally recognized as so.
As you can see, we’ve made a ton of progress in the 2010s. And, we can’t let the momentum stop! As we head into 2020, we’re even more dedicated to making the world a safer place and continue providing a free and 24/7 service to texters. As this last decade has proved, mental health is on everyone’s minds and we want to continue making big waves until no one ever feels alone in their mental health journey at all.