Last Updated: May 23, 2018 at 10:55am EDT
If you are in danger or need emergency help, call 911 or your local authorities.
SCOPE; ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS
At Crisis Text Line (“Crisis Text Line”, “we”, or “us”), our goal is to help people in crisis. We are here to help you move from a “hot moment” to a “cool calm,” and we try to equip you with tools to move yourself from “hot” to “cool” if you face a crisis in the future.
These Terms govern your access and use of the Services, describe what information we collect through the Services, and explains how we use, transfer, and store your information after we collect it. This policy will inform you if and to whom we disclose any of that information, and what choices you have in how we use that information. We hope that knowing how and why we use data will help you make an informed choice about using the Services.
You may contact Crisis Text Line by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about these Terms. If you don’t agree to these Terms, you may not use the Services. You can find a list of other crisis lines, hotlines, and other support resources at CrisisTextLine.org/referrals. If you no longer wish to receive messages from Crisis Text Line, you may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP. You may opt back in by texting the Services again.
CONSENT; CHANGES TO TERMS
We care about you and we want to be thoughtful about the Terms and how Crisis Text Line works. So, these terms may be changed from time to time. Any changes will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at Crisistextline.org. (So the version you’re reading right now is the version in effect. Continuing to use the Services after we’ve changed the Terms will mean that you accept the revised Terms.
Each time that you start a conversation with Crisis Text Line, you’ll receive an automated reply text message with a link to our current Terms so you may review them before continuing to use the Services. Using the Services after receiving that text messages shall constitute your acceptance of the Terms then in effect.
NATURE OF THE SERVICES
Our Services are intended to empower you to stay safe and healthy during a crisis. However, please remember that your use of and participation in our Services does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, a doctor-patient relationship, a therapist-client relationship, a therapist-patient relationship, or any other sort of confidential relationship. We’re not your doctor, your therapist, your lawyer, your mom, or your best friend. Crisis Text Line is not a substitute for professional health care, mental health treatment, psychiatric care, or therapy of any kind. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, you should immediately call your doctor or 911. And, if you are experiencing a clinical or long-term issue, you should consult a medical professional.
Neither Crisis Text Line nor any of our employees, Crisis Counselors, or agents are responsible for any decisions, or results of the decisions that you make while, as a result of, or after using the Services. This includes whether you choose to seek or not seek professional care, or to modify or terminate specific treatment that you are currently receiving based on the information provided by our Services. We can ask questions and nudge you in a healthy direction, but only you control your own actions, reactions, and words.
Additionally, to protect the privacy and safety of our staff and Crisis Counselors, you agree to not communicate with our Crisis Counselors outside of the Services. If you have questions, comments or feedback for us, please email email@example.com.
RISKS, USE OF SERVICES
You assume all risk for use of the Services. Neither Crisis Text Line nor any of our employees, Crisis Counselors, agents, service providers, or any other entities with whom Crisis Text Line has contracted shall have any liability for (1) actions taken by you or a third party, or not taken by you or a third party, or (2) the unavailability of the Services, and you agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless for damages arising out of (A) your use of the Services, (B) your breach of these Terms, (C) your violation of the law, (D) claims asserted by third parties that you are in breach of these Terms or (E) information provided by you through Crisis Text Line. Without limiting the foregoing, in no event shall Crisis Text Line be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, exemplary, or indirect damages.
The Services are provided on an “as is” basis and “as available” basis. We do the best we can and are constantly improving, but can’t make any guarantees. Crisis Text Line and its service providers expressly disclaim all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Crisis Text Line and its service providers make no warranty that Crisis Text Line will (A) meet your requirements; (B) be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; or (C) meet your expectations. The foregoing disclaimers of liability apply to all damages or injury, including those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or delay in operation or transmission, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, including negligence, or any other cause of action.
PROHIBITED USES; RIGHT TO TERMINATE ACCESS
You may use our Services only for lawful purposes and in accordance with these Terms. You agree to use the Services only for lawful and legitimate purposes. You agree not to use the Services:
in any way that violates any applicable federal, state, local and international law or regulation;
for the purpose of exploiting, harming or attempting to exploit or harm minors in any way by exposing them to inappropriate content, asking for personal information or otherwise;
to threaten, harass, or otherwise inappropriately abuse Crisis Text Line, its employees, partners, agents, subcontractors, volunteers, or others;
to send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use or re-use any content which does not comply with these Terms;
to “spam,” gather or attempt to gather personal information belonging to users or others for the purposes of spamming, marketing, selling to third parties, or otherwise abusing Crisis Text Line, our Services, or our users;
to impersonate or attempt to impersonate another person or entity; or
to engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone’s use or enjoyment of the Services, or which, as determined by us, may harm Crisis Text Line or users of the Services or expose them to liability; or
to copy, adapt, decompile, reverse engineer, attempt to discover the source code of or make a derivative works of the Services or any portion of the Services; or
to otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of Crisis Text Line or the Services.
Crisis Text Line reserves the right to terminate your access to the Services if you violate these Terms, including doing anything on the list above.
Crisis Text Line may unilaterally terminate your access to the Services. We also might adjust your access if we determine that you’d be better served by a different kind of support.
Crisis Text Line further reserves the right to terminate the Services or your access to them, for any other reason, at our sole discretion.
THIRD PARTY SERVICES
You may contact us through a third party website, application or service (“Third Party Service”), including, for example, Facebook Messenger and Kik. If you contact us through a Third Party Service (A) both Crisis Text Line and the third party that runs the Third Party Service may have access to the content of the messages you share and (B) your information may be shared between us and that third party. For example, we and the third party may exchange your location information to contact local law enforcement or emergency services in an emergency. Moreover, these Terms only apply to you and Crisis Text Line. We are not responsible for, and make no representations regarding, the policies or practices of any Third Party Service. If you contact us through a Third Party Service, you are subject to these Terms as well as the terms and policies of the Third Party Service. We encourage you to review the terms and policies of any Third Party Service you use to contact Crisis Text Line. If you do not wish to be subject to a Third Party Service’s terms or policies, please do not contact Crisis Text Line or our Services through a Third Party Service; instead, you may contact Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.
COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
“Personally Identifiable Information” is data that can be used to uniquely identify you, like your full name or home address. During your use of Crisis Text Line you may be asked (but never required) to voluntarily provide Personally Identifiable Information, including but not limited to your name or home address. We will only ask for this if we believe it would help us to better serve you.
Crisis Text Line uses the information it collects about you to, among other things, improve the Services, contact you, provide anonymous reporting internally, and fulfill your requests, including but not limited to referrals to other services. We may also use automated processes to help us determine how best to prioritize and/or address your crisis. (We use technology to help those in most immediate need first.)
PURPOSES FOR PROCESSING DATA
Our lawful purposes for processing your data include consent (where you have given consent), contract (where processing is necessary to deliver the Services as you requested by texting us), protecting your vital interests, performing tasks carried out in the public interest, and the legitimate interests of Crisis Text Line (namely, to help texters like you stay safe and healthy in a crisis). In short, we collect information so we can provide you and others like you with better Services, helping move more people in crisis from “hot” to “cool.”
Where we rely on your consent to process personal data, you have the right to withdraw or decline your consent at any time by texting LOOFAH, as described below. Where we rely on legitimate interests, you have the right to object. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Simply, if you want to be erased from our system forever, text LOOFAH and we will scrub your data. (Get it? LOOFAH? Scrub?).
WHAT PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION WE COLLECT
When you choose to message us to use our Services, we may automatically receive and collect (i) the phone number you text us from and (ii) the telecommunications carrier of your phone.
Other than that, the only Personally Identifiable Information that we collect from you through the Services is the stuff you voluntarily provide to us. Some of the types of Personally Identifiable Information that we may request that you disclose to us may include your name, age, address, and zip code, particularly if necessary to respond to an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm, or to make a mandatory report concerning suspected child abuse or neglect. Additionally, if you choose to take a survey on CrisisTextLine.org or via a link sent to you following your conversation through our Services, we may ask you about your experience in that conversation. You can totally choose to keep your responses anonymous. It’s your call.
Crisis Text Line keeps a record of each donor’s giving history for IRS purposes, to analyze giving patterns, make budget projections, and solicit future donations. We do not share our donor file with any other party or organization.
HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
We operate the Services in conjunction with volunteer and staff crisis counselors (“Crisis Counselors”). Any information, including Personally Identifiable Information, that you share with the Services may be viewed by Crisis Text Line staff or Crisis Counselors for quality control, to contact emergency services, or to better assist you with your crisis. We may use and share the Personally Identifiable Information that we collect via the Services amongst our employees, Crisis Counselors, agents, and service providers in order to help us operate, analyze, research, develop, deliver, audit, maintain, and improve our products, content, advertising, communications, and the Services. If you provide feedback through an anonymous feedback survey, that feedback may also be shared with Crisis Text Line Staff and Crisis Counselors. We want to provide awesome Services, so we are hungry to learn from your feedback!
DISCLOSURES TO THIRD PARTIES
At times we may make certain Personally Identifiable Information available to strategic partners that work with us, as described below.
LAW ENFORCEMENT, STATE AUTHORITIES, AND EMS
We care about your safety. It’s our goal to support you in staying safe and healthy and to do so in the least invasive way possible (read: we don’t want to intrude in your life). You being alive is what matters most to us. In rare cases, this means we might contact law enforcement, state authorities, or emergency services if your messages indicate that you or another person is at imminent risk of death or serious injury (whether you have the desire, a plan, access to means, and an imminent timeline). At this point, we might ask you for some personally identifiable information (such as where you are or what your name is). We understand that this can be disruptive, and it won’t happen unless we think it’s necessary. (Read: just saying “I’m feeling suicidal” does not necessarily mean we’ll try to send someone.) We’ll try to work with you to come up with a safety plan before calling emergency services, if doing so would not increase the imminent risk. We’re not here to tell on you - we’re here to do our best to support you and others in staying healthy and safe. We may attempt to locate you, but it may not always be possible.
Additionally, if the content of your messages leads us to reasonably suspect that you are a victim of emotional/physical abuse or neglect and are 17 years old or younger, we may ask for your date of birth, name, and address to file a report with the appropriate state authority. You are not required to share this information with us.
OTHER THIRD PARTIES; LEGAL PROCESSES
In certain narrow circumstances, we may disclose Personally Identifiable Information we collect from you to additional third parties if we believe such disclosure is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Crisis Text Line, its affiliates, employees, or agents, including but not limited to Crisis Counselors; (C) to enforce our Terms; (D) in connection with a sale, merger, or change of control of Crisis Text Line or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Services or its infrastructure systems properly.
Note that Crisis Text Line’s staff and Crisis Counselors are located across the United States, and may not be licensed in your state or trained in your state’s law. Other state laws may apply to your communications, and those state laws may not protect your communications to the same degree, or in the same way, as the laws of your state.
NON-PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
We also collect, use, and share non-Personally Identifiable Information, which is data that cannot be directly used to identify or contact you, such as conversation volume, length of conversation, and other related data.
After scrubbing and anonymizing your Personally Identifiable Information such that it can no longer be used to personally identify you (rendering it into non-Personally Identifiable Information) we also may use and share such anonymized data, such as age, gender, language, zip code, area code, and the time zone of conversations, in order to operate, analyze, research, develop, deliver, audit, maintain, and improve our products, content, advertising, communications, and the Services, or to market Crisis Text Line’s services to third parties.
We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-Personally Identifiable Information to third parties for any purpose, including but not limited to improving our Services, generating support for Crisis Text Line, or as required by law.
We have a formal process for sharing certain anonymized data (such as the types of crisis issues raised in conversations, like suicidal ideation and depression) with researchers at universities and other institutions. We share such anonymized data with trusted researchers when it will result in insights that create a better experience for our texters and other people in crisis. For more details, see our Data Philosophy.
We may collect and analyze non-personally identifiable information through third-party applications and services, such as Google Analytics, regarding how people use our Services, which may include our website users’ operating system, Internet browser, mobile device, screen resolution, or general usage information such as the number and frequency of our website’s visitors, or which links were clicked. This information helps us improve our website and Services. (For information on Google Analytics, please visit http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/.)
Sometimes, we may refer you to another hotline or program. There are some really great programs out there! We will give you their contact info, but we will not give them your contact info. So, it’s up to you if you want to use the referral. If you would like to receive support from other services, please note that different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information. We don’t control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your Personally Identifiable Information to others.
RETENTION OF INFORMATION
Crisis Text Line retains data for the purposes described above. We retain Personally Identifiable Information for seven years, and then scrub it to render it anonymous, so it can no longer be used to identify you personally. We retain non personally identifiable data -- including the data we scrub -- indefinitely, so that we may continue to use it to improve our Services.
HOW WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
Crisis Text Line cares about you and the security of your Personally Identifiable Information. We take reasonable security precautions, including encryption, administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. We store all information on servers and we only permit approved Crisis Text Line employees and third parties to access those servers pursuant to the practices described above. However, perfect security does not exist anywhere, including for text messaging/SMS data. Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that your Personally Identifiable Information or communications with Crisis Text Line will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy, and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures to prevent unauthorized access or interception by third parties.
YOU SHOULD ALSO PROTECT YOURSELF
Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personally Identifiable Information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, what others not affiliated with Crisis Text Line do with information you provide to them. You may also choose to delete Crisis Text Line conversations from your phone, clear us from your history, and not save our number in your contact list to ensure that your relationship to Crisis Text Line remains your business.
ACCESS/CHANGES TO PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
You may request access to or changes to Personally Identifiable Information of yours which we have stored by emailing email@example.com. You will be asked to verify your identity in order for us to grant you access to or process changes to your Personally Identifiable Information.
You may request that we delete your Personally Identifiable Information, such as last name, physical address, zip code, phone number, and texts/message transcripts by texting the word LOOFAH to 741741, after which you will be prompted to confirm your request. We will make reasonable efforts to process requests promptly, but may decline to process requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require unreasonable technical effort, jeopardize the privacy of you or others, are otherwise impractical, or which would conflict with a law enforcement matter. Additionally we will decline to process requests if we believe preservation of your Personally Identifiable Information is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal obligations; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Crisis Text Line, employees, agents, or volunteers, including but not limited to Crisis Counselors; (C) to enforce our Terms; (D) in connection with a sale, merger, or change of control of Crisis Text Line or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Services or their infrastructure systems properly.
CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS OLD
As a not-for-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Crisis Text Line is exempt from compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. However, we take children’s privacy seriously, and encourage users and their parents to review our Terms to understand our information collection practices.
GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS
These Terms and the provision of the Services are governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of New York without giving effect to New York’s conflicts of law rules. Crisis Text Line and you both consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the city of New York, borough of Manhattan. (We <3 New York.) The Services are operated in the United States. If you are located outside of the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using Crisis Text Line and/or providing us with your information, you consent to that collection and transfer.
SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT
If a court finds any provision of these Terms to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent possible and the remaining Terms shall remain in full force and effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and Crisis Text Line, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings. (Basically, the stuff you’re reading now is what you and Crisis Text Line agree to, and even if we later fight about some words, the rest of the words still stick around.)
If you have any questions or concerns about our Terms or the privacy and security practices described here, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail a request to us at Crisis Text Line, PO Box 1144, New York, NY 10159.