Crisis Text Line

FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about Crisis Text Line.

 

Frequently-Asked Questions

Click on the headers for a drop down list of the most popular questions in each section. Other questions? Email us at support@crisistextline.org.

 

+  Texting In


HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

  1. You text 741741 when in crisis, available 24/7 in the United States.
  2. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
  3. The Crisis Counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals - all through text message, using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

For more detail, see How It Works.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "MOVE FROM A HOT MOMENT TO A COOL CALM?"

Our Crisis Counselors bring texters "from a hot moment to a cool calm" using techniques in empathetic listening. Once they’ve built rapport and trust, explored the issues, and established the texter's goal, they collaboratively problem-solve to help the texter come up with a plan to stay safe.

WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time. “If it’s a crisis to you, it’s a crisis to us.”


WHO ARE THE CRISIS COUNSELORS?

Our Crisis Counselors are dedicated, trained, supervised volunteers from around the United States. After a rigorous multi-stage application process, background check, and training program, each commits to 200 total hours of volunteering. Supervisors (Staff who all have Master's degrees or PhDs in psychology or social work, or a related field) oversee the Crisis Counselors.


WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.


IS CRISIS TEXT LINE CONFIDENTIAL?

Yes. Crisis Counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays between you, unless sharing it with emergency services is absolutely necessary for your safety. We take your confidentiality seriously. Check out our terms of service here.


HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, it works just like texting a friend: standard text message rates apply.


WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE APPEAR ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. (Read about how this happened here). If your plan is with another carrier, our short code, 741741, will appear on your billing statement.


WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK ON MY CELL PHONE?

Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile's. If you are unable to reach us via text, you can do so via Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/crisistextline.


CAN I TEXT IN MORE THAN ONCE?

You can text in again if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.


HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A COUNSELOR?

Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, like at night or when we “go viral” on social media, wait times may be longer.


IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.


WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes--and the small percentage of people with these phones can't use Crisis Text Line via SMS. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this isn't ideal, and we wish those carriers would enable us!) If your phone carrier doesn't enable shortcodes, contact us via Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/crisistextline.



+  Messaging Apps


IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

Yes, we’re leveraging messaging apps!

  1. You can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Using the “Send Message” at facebook.com/crisistextline button will connect you to a live Crisis Counselor.
  2. We’re also available on Kik. If you indicate you are in crisis to select Kik bots, you may be pointed to Crisis Text Line for further help.

These services are for people in crisis. Have a general inquiry? Email support@crisistextline.org.

IF I REACH OUT VIA AN APP, DOES CONFIDENTIALITY APPLY?

Yes, totally confidential! We do not have access to your Facebook or Kik profiles. The only information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

IF I REACH OUT VIA A MESSAGING APP, HOW DO I GET MY DATA DELETED?

Message us back with the word LOOFAH. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same. Kik doesn’t collect message level data.

IF I REACH OUT VIA A MESSAGING APP, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger or Kik, users agree to the messaging app’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.



+  Volunteering


HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

We are always accepting applications! Apply here.


WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

  1. Pass a background check
  2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
  5. Commit to volunteering 200 total hours (typically completed over a year)


WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 200 total hours. 4 hours/week for a year is recommended, but volunteers can take as long as they’d like to hit 200.


HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

Crisis Counselors graduate from a six-week, 34-hour program that includes: video modules that cover (a) specific skills such as good contact techniques; (b) issues such as self-harm, suicide, depression, bullying, and LGBTQ issues, as well as quizzes, role plays, and observations shifts. Our training has been vetted by representatives from national organizations like American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).


WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!


ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

Yes. Our experienced, full-time staff Supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers on the platform.



+  Data


WHAT ISSUES DO YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org . If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org .


WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE'S DATA?

Applications for data access is closed.



+  Donate


IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT-FOR-PROFIT?

Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials.


HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED? (HOW CAN IT BE TOTALLY FREE?)

We're privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations. It’s important to us that a high quality service is accessible to anyone who needs it, and that the data is all in one place. Money shouldn’t be a barrier to help.


WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE'S FORM 990?

2016 here and 2015 here.


I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

We are focused on three main initiatives:

  1. Supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support
  2. Integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger
  3. White labeling our service for other orgs and locations-- providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.


HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

You can donate via PayPal here , or by sending a check to:

         Crisis Text Line
         Attn: Finance Dept.
         PO Box 1144
         New York, NY 10159


IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?

Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank-you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.



+  Partnerships & Media


WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!


HOW DO YOU PARTNER WITH CORPORATIONS?

We work with companies like YouTube, After School, Kik, Facebook and Instagram to seamlessly connect their users who are in crisis to our trained Crisis Counselors. We also do cause marketing campaigns with brands who want to raise money and/or awareness for Crisis Text Line.


CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

Absolutely. Download our texter one-pager or volunteer one-pager.


WHO DO I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

Email press@crisistextline.org. You're encouraged to check out our media page first!

 

Didn’t find your answer? Email support@crisistextline.org.