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.

August 2017 Newsletter: Back-to-School


I. Ask Bob

Have a data question? Email our Chief Data Scientist:

School-related volume as a percent of total conversations, over time.

Volume: Talk of school is higher during the school year (obviously). School conversations peak in August (beginning of school) and April (near the end of school) as a percentage of our total volume (~10%).

The main issues that co-occur in school conversations are:

  • Family 32%
  • Stress 31% 
  • Depression 27% 
  • Anxiety 25% 
  • Friends 23%

The stress of school impacts non-white texters 2x more than white texters.

Texters have told us that the following coping skills work best for them to manage all the school feels: 

  • Friends (25%) 
  • Music (21%) 
  • Therapy (22%) 
  • Writing / Journaling (10%)

II. Heroes

Sara Smith is one of our amazing Spike Captains, overseeing a team of Crisis Counselors who have signed up to be called on nights where we need some extra help! She currently lives in Abu Dhabi.

How does living abroad affect your perspective as a Crisis Counselor?

Having lived abroad in many countries throughout my life, and now in the Middle East, the one thing I have learned is that people experience crises no matter the culture. The words they use may be different, but the fear, the anxiety, the depression... remain the same. In some cultures, it can be difficult to reach people who are experiencing crises because they have been told that it is a myth. Empathy, and simply listening with an open heart wherever I go has proven more effective than any particular lingo or strategy… My training has come in handy in many real life situations and has proved an invaluable asset in how I see and interact with the world. 

What motivates you to lead as a Spike Captain?

Go Saturday Smashers! My team of Crisis Counselors is my biggest motivation to lead as a Spike Captain. I have never met so many wonderful, empathetic, and truly kind souls in one place before... Establishing self care has been my driving force when it comes to leading. My goal is to be one of the pillars of support for our [Crisis] Counselors who take such wonderful care of our texters. It is easy to get burnt out and be discouraged when you work so closely with crises, so it is extremely important to me that these people know they have someone to turn to who is in their corner and to help them along. There is no Crisis Text Line without our [Crisis] Counselors and I am grateful to help in some small way. 

What is your favorite thing you’ve learned as a Crisis Counselor?

The absolute best thing I have learned from Crisis Counseling is empowerment. It is important for anyone, regardless of who they are or where they are, to talk about what is going on in their lives. Often people feel they have to hold everything in for one reason or another, or they are ashamed of feeling a certain way. Those feelings can spiral out of control very quickly and lead to some dark places. Talking, opening up, and reaching out has saved lives and will continue to as long as people are empowered to do so. There is nothing wrong with needing help. It is my hope to continue to empower people to reach out for as long as I am able to.

Text HELLO to 741741 - school image

III. Org News

A. Wow. We have had 3,500+ active Crisis Counselors in just the last 28 days.

B. We’re hiring! Senior Software Engineers and Machine Learning Data Scientists

C. In the press.

  • Vice featured us in a Snapchat story on coping with anxiety.
  • CBS Sacramento/Stockton aired a segment on our work in the Bay Area.
  • Outreach/Recruitment Intern Katie Copeskey was interviewed on Hawaii Public Radio about the unique virtual volunteer experience we provide.

D. Meet our team! Crisis Text Line staff is often out talking about data, tech and all things mental health.

  • 9/5-9/6: Crisis Counselor Supervisor Jill Arendt will be speaking at Now is the Time: Improving Supports for Wisconsin’s Youth and Young Adults at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

E. Partnerships!

  • Efforts in LA are off to a great start: we are collaborating on a year-long campaign with iHeartRadio and the Well Being Trust. The campaign started on KIIS FM and Real 92.3, just in time for back-to-school, and will continue through the rest of the academic year! Want to help us grow in LA? Email!

(Email for other awesome partnership ideas!)

F. School Toolkit! Want to bring Crisis Text Line to your school, but not sure where to begin? Sign up for the Crisis Text Line School Toolkit.

IV. Blog Highlights

Top 7 Things We Learned as Crisis Text Line Interns by the Summer 2017 Interns

Take advantage of every opportunity available, even if you don’t think you’re qualified.
— H.K., Marketing Intern
The scared ten-year-old girl I had been never received the care she deserved, making it impossible for the 20-year-old woman I became to care for herself and a child.
— Shaniqua Staples, MSW, Supervisor