Our desire to serve the Spanish-language LatinX community in their native language is at the heart of this expansion.
At Crisis Text Line, our goal has always been to support people where they are, when they need it, with the technology that is comfortable to them. For the past eight years, we’ve been able to have more than 200 million text messages with people in crisis. Today, we are thrilled to announce that we can now support people in Spanish when they are in need of mental health support.
To increase access to the service for Spanish speakers, we’ve also launched a new modality: WhatsApp. Now, anyone in crisis can reach a volunteer Crisis Counselor via text or on WhatsApp, an app with over 32 million Hispanic and LatinX users. To be connected to a Spanish speaking volunteer Crisis Counselor anyone can text AYUDA to 741741 or 442-AYUDAME in WhatsApp.
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our hundreds of bilingual volunteer Crisis Counselors and staff, we have created the first text service of its kind in the US, providing free, 24/7 support for Spanish speakers. Want to join us? If you are bilingual in English and Spanish, we would love to train you to become a Crisis Counselor to help support LatinX people experiencing crisis.
During training, you’ll learn critical life-saving skills like suicide risk assessment, active listening, and collaborative problem-solving. Once you are on the platform servicing texters, our clinical team includes many bilingual supervisors ready to help you navigate conversations with texters and jump in when you need an extra hand.
The need for this service is high. Suicide among young Latinas is a major public health concern. According to the CDC, they attempt suicide more often than any other group of female teenagers nationwide. Additionally, people of color experience racism, which has a significant impact on mental health and is a public health threat.
The fact that LatinX people across the U.S. have a hard time finding mental health care services in their native language fuels this inequity. According to the recent data released by the American Psychological Association, only 5.5% of U.S. psychologists say they’re able to administer mental health care services in Spanish. Research indicates that language is a primary barrier preventing Spanish speakers in the U.S. from accessing mental health services.
We believe that empathy is universal, but we know we all have a long way to go before empathy is equitable. Since the summer of 2020, we’ve been on a transformative journey to center equity in all aspects of our work. While working behind the scenes to expand our service in Spanish and on WhatsApp, we’ve also been creating educational content in Spanish.
LatinX texters already make up 17% of Crisis Text Line’s texters, based on voluntary demographic data. LatinX texters tend to be younger (56% were 17 or younger) and more likely to be female (79%) than the average texter to Crisis Text Line.
During the Spanish service pilot, Crisis Text Line had more than 1,000 conversations with texters in Spanish. Our Data Science team has kept a close eye on the crisis trends that have emerged during the pilot and observed that Spanish-speaking texters were more likely to discuss depression, anxiety, and relationship issues than the Crisis Text Line average during the same time. And the majority of texters who used the Spanish service were from Texas, California and Florida. The team aims to publish research that will help everyone from policy makers to family members better understand and support the issues of Spanish-language LatinX texters.
No matter where you are, no matter what your crisis, we are here to help. Mental health is about us. All of us. Together.
Text AYUDA to 741741 or text to 442-AYUDAME in WhatsApp to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor in Spanish. Text HOME to 741741 for English.