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.

July 2017 Newsletter: Celebrity Headlines


I. Bob's Notes

Let's all choose to be a part of the cure.

We choose to be a part of that cure.

We are feeling deeply this week for Chester Bennington, his family, fans, and everyone mourning his death. The connection we make to the music that shapes us is very real, and we’re seeing the impact of this loss on our texters.

Celebrity headlines of all kinds (ranging from the death of Robin Williams in 2014 to Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction) affect our volume. Looking at past “Celebrity Headlines” that have impacted our volume we typically see:

  • A 20-30% increase in texters messaging in, peaking 2 days after the initial event, and, returning to normal after ~4 days.
  • A 15% higher rate of first-time texters (we’re reaching new populations that need our help!)
Celebrity Headlines x Volume

In the 24 hours following Bennington’s death, we saw seen a 1.5x increase in conversations about suicide and family. We saw 600 mentions of Chester Bennington (and Linkin Park) in that period following his death (accounting for 22% of all conversations).

In the six days following the tragedy, we exchanged as many messages as we processed in our first six months as a service.

II. Heroes

This month we spoke to Matt Velinder, a bioinformatician who received his Ph.D. in 2016. He’s been a Crisis Counselor since April. Among his research projects is the study of the genetic basis of psychological disorders and suicidality.

How did you learn about Crisis Text Line?

Like many people after the 2016 election, I was stunned and worried about the recent social progress protecting and accepting previously marginalized and threatened groups in our communities. I had been thinking about a way to "give back" for some time and decided that it was time to stand up for the causes I believed in. Crisis Text Line was an amazing venue to effect the positive change I wanted to see in the world and let these groups that felt threatened know that I care for them and support them.

Many people desperately need to know that someone cares about them, that they’re not alone. In the end, we’re all just people helping people in this world.
— Matt Velinder, Crisis Counselor

Tell us about your current research!

I work on a variety of topics within the field of genomics and personalized medicine. This involves analyzing genome sequence data from patients and their family members to determine the genetic basis of the disease or disorder. One of the most rewarding projects has been working with the families of children with very rare congenital disorders... Reaching a genetic diagnosis for these families provides them with peace of mind around the disorder, can positively impact their clinical care, and has the potential for being the basis of new treatments for these disorders. I've also had the opportunity to work on projects determining the genetic basis of suicide. It has been a wonderful experience to work within both the research and counseling aspects of suicide.  

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

Empathy! Being a crisis counselor has opened my heart and mind to more deeply connect with those around me, both in my crisis counseling as well as in my personal relationships. Crisis Text Line is an extraordinary community of empathetic and supportive people that I couldn't be prouder of!

III. Org News

A. We’re hiring! Currently seeking a Senior Software Engineer in New York City or Durham, NC.

B. New website and blog! We’re thrilled to unveil our new website at, and we hope you’re as proud to share it with your friends and colleagues as we are. One of our favorite additions is the new blog, The Cool Calm.

C. Fourth Birthday! We’re celebrating our fourth birthday on August 1! Help us celebrate that day by sharing a photo of yourself at age 4, with the hashtag #CrisisTextLine. Keep an eye on on August 1 for more celebration!

D. In the press.

  • One of our Heads of Supervision, Christine Morrison, was quoted in this article about preventing teen suicide.
  • Founder/CEO Nancy Lublin was interviewed by Jerry Colonna for The Reboot Podcast.

E. Partnerships!

  • We’re excited to be partnered with Thorn: Tech Innovation to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation. This incredible organization works to deter predators, identify victims, and disrupt platforms to prevent abuse. Have a partnership idea? Email Liz:

IV. Blog Highlights

“Wired for Warmth: Crisis Counseling as a Woman on the Autism Spectrum” by Danielle Ryer (Crisis Counselor)

“Embracing AI to Save Lives” by Ankit Gupta (Staff)

We embrace AI to help humans serve humans better! How’s that for a novel thought?
— Ankit Gupta, Staff
Diversity of all kinds is necessary in the world of mental health because it brings a warmth of familiarity to those who may feel alien.
— Danielle Ryer (Crisis Counselor)