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.

February 2018 Newsletter: Financial Crises


I. Data Bytes

This month, Financial Issues

How many: About 5% of our conversations include financial issues.

Who: These texters tend to be older -  74% are over the age of 18.

Where: We see more conversations about finances in these green states. Top 3 are ID, NV, FL.

Map of the US, with some states in green and others in red


When: These convos peak right before the workday (6am-8am EST) and we see 20% more than average during the Summer.

How: The top 10 unique words that texters use in these conversations are:

1. Money

2. Problem

3. Pain

4. Live

5. Week

6. Hope

7. Pay

8. Night

9. Sleep

10. Job

Tips & Tricks:

  • Ask smart questions. Typically, the most effective questions are “How” questions. In convos about financial issues, “where” questions are #1. Our favorite examples include:

    • “Where would you like to be in 5 years?”

    • “Where do you see yourself being most successful?”

    • “Where do you feel most effective in your day?”

  • Don’t drag it out. Conversations about financial concerns spanning 48 minutes have a 94% quality rating. After that, quality ratings flatten. And quality drops after the 90-minute mark.

    • It’s tempting to have longer convos with texters in financial crisis, because we can’t solve their root problem. We ask our CCs to stick to the 5 stages of a convo to keep convos an appropriate length.

  • Underlying concern. The phrases texters use most often tell us that their #1 worry is how financial issues will affect their families. We ask our CCs to keep this in mind as they explore the issue. (Identify the strength and caring the texter is expressing. Validate their right to care for themselves, too: they may be afraid of sounding selfish.)

  • Feeling Words. One emotion these texters feel most often is “exhausted.” CCs can add words like “exhausted/ing,” “weary,” and “worn down” to their arsenal of feeling words as a way to effectively paraphrase and reflect.

II. Texter Feedback

Some highlights of the feedback we’ve gotten from texters in the post-conversation survey. Texters providing this optional feedback consent to us sharing it anonymously.

  • thank you so much for your calm thoughtful words and helping me through my panic. Thank you for reassuring me that I have strength and that I can get through this. Thank you so much again for helping me feel better.

  • I needed someone to talk to who wasn't close to me. I appreciate the kind words and encouraging words.

  • THANK YOU. Thank you for affirmation and encouragement. But thank you also for listening so well. I needed that more than anything. Thank you for not trying to fix me.

III. Org News


We’re hiring!


  • Gamers/YouTube stars Game Grumps raised $77k for us in a single livestream!

  • Our partnership with Microsoft launched February 9: Xbox users in crisis will be connected to our service.

  • New partners include the Army Reserve, Minnesota Department of Human Services, and It Gets Better.

IV. Blog Highlights