An Update from Crisis Text Line

Our mission of helping texters in their most vulnerable moments is the forefront of our work. For nearly seven years, Crisis Text Line has exchanged over 150 million messages in support of people in crisis. 

It is precisely because we are committed to serving our texter community that we are transforming our organization. We are taking steps to evolve Crisis Text Line’s culture and practices to center equity, which in turn improves our ability to service our entire texter community in all of its racial, socioeconomic and mental health diversity. As we move forward, we are devoted to better representing and serving our community in response to this unique moment in history in which the world is rightfully demanding equity, social justice and change. 

Today, we want to affirm Crisis Text Line’s commitment to creating a more inclusive, equitable, just and safe environment for our staff and community. In order to move forward, we must own our responsibility for creating and fostering the space everyone deserves. 

Let us be abundantly clear: Black Lives Matter. We firmly believe this and are taking action to ensure that our words match our deeds, from the inside out.

We are embarking on a deeply considered organizational transformation that accelerates the intersectional racial, gender, economic and social equity that our community and texters in crisis deserve. Intersectional injustice directly impacts the lives and mental health of people in BIPOC, LGBTQ, immigrant, low-income, disabled and otherwise disenfranchised communities. It is critically important to society and to our organization that we do our part in addressing and counteracting the multiple dimensions of inequality. By more deeply understanding the systems that have contributed to oppression, we will build the skills we need to address many of the barriers faced by marginalized communities. 

We have much work ahead of us, and our journey will take the form of many carefully considered steps. We are now implementing the first in a series of steps to ensure that employees and volunteers are all able to do their best work and to fulfill our mission in service to texters in need. We aim to continuously provide our community with transparency into our process of transformation. To that end, below we share some key initial thoughts as we plan for the future.

 

Service

We are here first and foremost for our texters. We have been and will continue to be 100% operational through this transition. In the U.S., in the last 28 days, over 11,000 Crisis Counselors have logged onto our platform to help support over 98,000 texter conversations (with an average of over 3,500 per day), maintaining fast response times and high satisfaction rates. We would like to give special thanks to our staff and volunteer Crisis Counselor community for their unwavering, compassionate and effective support to our texters in crisis.

 

Discovery 

We are dedicated to well-informed, long-lasting change. In order to learn from the past and move into a more promising future, Crisis Text Line’s Board of Directors has hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the organization’s history and culture. We are eager to enter into a new chapter of our culture as an organization. We must learn from our history to move forward toward the change we all want to see — and be.

 

Listening 

Crisis Text Line is committed to listening with intention and humility. This will include frequent and open two-way communication with our phenomenal team our internal staff and our volunteer Crisis Counselor community. We are taking a deep look at our organizational composition, policies and practices and are seeking recommendations, both internally and externally, on inclusivity and equity.

 

Equity Advisors

We are engaging with a uniquely qualified and diverse set of advisors to inform our transformation process over the course of the next year. Advisors are providing us with expanded understanding, wisdom and lived experience that will inform the internal investigation, training and examination of our organizational culture.

 

Representation and Diversity

To achieve our goals, and to optimize service to texters in crisis, we must more accurately represent the demographics of the communities we serve. We are working to ensure that we are increasingly diverse and adequately representative throughout the organization: board, leadership, staff and Crisis Counselors.

 

Integration and Culture Change

Crisis Text Line is evaluating internal systems to better ensure equity for the members of our staff and community. This includes assessments of our hiring, training, compensation and advancement processes. We are engaging in listening, self-reflection and accountability as we work to create a more equitable and inclusive work environment. 

 

Data

We have always used data to help us improve our service to texters in crisis, and regularly have third parties advise and verify that our processes are informed by best practices. We are engaging additional third parties to further review our data practices to ensure that they are proper, private, secure and as rigorous as possible. 

 

Restoration & Healing

In times of injustice, change is necessary. We are exploring restorative processes to allow our community to achieve mutual understanding so that we can move forward together. We are seeking lasting transformation rather than quick reflexive change. 

This journey will take time and require our sustained effort toward equity and belonging. We thank our staff, our volunteers and our partners for their understanding and support as we engage in this transformative journey. With thorough and reflective work, we will better meet the needs of the people in crisis as we become increasingly inclusive and equitable in our culture and our practices.

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