We receive messages all day, every day (and night!) about the things that are causing pain in peoples’ lives. The messages are about relationships, school bullying, loneliness, friendships, or—right now—about being scared to go to work serving on the frontlines or for parents to go to work on the frontlines. Our conversations are strangers helping strangers in their darkest moments. Sometimes, conversations look like this:
TEXTER: I’m 14 and I want to go home
CRISIS COUNSELOR: My name is Beth. I’m here for you. Tell me more.
TEXTER: I’ve run away before, but I’ve never been involved with anything like this. I think they put drugs in my liquor.
CRISIS COUNSELOR: It sounds like you feel you’re not safe. The fastest way to get help is for you to call 911.
TEXTER: Lol Beth. If they hear me, they’ll kill me. They’re about to send another man in to have sex with me. Please hurry.
CRISIS COUNSELOR: It sounds like you’re in danger. I can call 911 for you and send help. You’re being very brave.
TEXTER: Tell the police to be careful. These men are armed.
I can share this story with you because it was reported by news outlets throughout the country. We did call 911. The police rescued the girl and two other girls and arrested three men—at the Motel 6 in San Jose.
I’m the CEO of this giant love machine. I’m also Beth—Nancy Beth Lublin. Like so many of you, I’ve spent the last nearly seven years on our platform helping people in crisis. When I’m on our platform I use Beth as an alias. And, like you, I’m here and ready to put my energy into pouring empathy to the people who need it.
Thanks to processing over 150 million messages we’ve learned a lot. We built our tech platform, shipped machine-learning algorithms to help us reach people faster, and learned what questions to ask and how to ask them. Most importantly, we’ve learned that pain is universal.
Pain isn’t an American experience, it’s a human experience. That’s why we created an audacious plan to bring more people help at their fingertips. We’re the recipients of something called the TED Audacious Project. It’s awarded each year to social change and science projects that have the potential to change the world—a corny overused phrase, but these projects have a legit shot at achieving it.
Our audacious dream is massive expansion. Instead of growing country by country, we’re pivoting to expand by language so that we can reach more people, faster. Initially, we planned to expand to 5 languages in 5 years. Then COVID happened. And, suddenly five years felt like a luxury. So, we cut our timeline in half. By 2022, Crisis Text Line will be available everywhere in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Arabic. That’s 32% of the planet able to access help at their fingertips when they’re in pain.
We’re ready. Last week, we broke 10K Crisis Counselors globally. We’re growing. Our quality rating from texters is a gorgeous 89%. And it feels like our staff has never been more kind, more courageous, more operationally excellent, more ready to roll.