How We Started

Crisis Text Line was born from a vision of serving people in crisis from all walks of life.  The inspiration for starting Crisis Text Line began in 2011 when Nancy Lublin was CEO of a leading online youth activism organization that received a heart-wrenching text message from a teenager suffering devastating abuse. At the time, the world lacked a trusted, text-based resource for young people to access the help they needed. That text motivated Lublin and her team to conceive a new paradigm of crisis intervention: a tech-forward not-for-profit that pairs trained volunteer Crisis Counselors with data science and cutting edge technology to create a text line that provides rapid, high-quality support to people in crisis. The organization harnessed the power of data to triage and prioritize those in the most dire need, rather than based on the order in which they reach out.  The inspiration and vision for Crisis Text Line is described in a New Yorker article about the genesis of the organization.  

Crisis Text Line launched in August 2013. Within four months the organization was receiving texts from nearly every single area code in the United States. Crisis Text Line grew to become the nation’s largest text-based crisis-intervention service. In the first eight years of its operation, Crisis Text Line had trained over 39,000 volunteer crisis counselors and engaged in more than four million text conversations with people in crisis, including many in communities whose mental health needs have long been underserved.

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