Privacy Policy

Scope; Accepting This Policy
What Information We Collect
How We May Use That Information
Third Party Services
Purposes for Processing Your Data; Triaging
How We Protect and Store Your Information
Requesting Access, Deletion, or Changes to Your Information
Some More Legal Stuff
Contact Us

Last Updated: May 28, 2024 4:55 PM EST

At Crisis Text Line (CTL), our goal is to support people in crisis. We want you to feel supported, and to know what we do with the information you share with us. Here is a short summary of the the main points of our Privacy Policy: 

  • What Data We Collect. When you reach out to us for support, we keep a record of each conversation, and we may automatically receive the phone number, mobile service provider, IP address, and/or internet service provider that you used to contact us.
  • When & Why We May Share Data That Identifies You. We may share information that identifies you if necessary to help prevent death or serious injury, or to meet legal requirements.
  • When & Why We May Share Data That Does Not Identify You. We may use and share anonymized data with third parties (such as researchers, partners, or the public) to inform public health, improve or raise awareness of our service, or for any other reasons.
  • How You Can Request Deletion of Your Data. You can ask us to delete your data by texting or messaging the word “DELETE” to us.
  • How We Protect Your Data. We take many steps to protect your data, including encryption, access controls, intrusion detection, and other methods.
  • What Happens When You Contact Us Through Third-Party Services. If you reach out to us through a third-party service (such as WhatsApp), that service may have different policies about how that service collects, uses, and shares your data.

For further detail, please read the full policy below. You can skip to some sections quickly by clicking the links above.

  • For our terms of service, click here.
  • For our privacy policy in Spanish, click here.
  • For our commitment to protecting digital rights, click here.
  • If you are in danger or need emergency help, call 911 or your local emergency services number.

CTL does not offer crisis counseling services outside of the U.S.  If you are in crisis in the UK, Canada, or Ireland:

  • For the U.K. terms / privacy policy (Mental Health Innovations / Shout), click here.
  • For the Canada terms / privacy policy (Kids Help Phone), click here.
  • For the Ireland terms / privacy policy (Community Creations CLG / SpunOut / Text About It), click here.

SCOPE; ACCEPTING THIS POLICY

Before accessing our website or our crisis support services (together, the “Services”), whether you reach out via text message/SMS, WhatsApp, or webchat, please read this. Each time you start a new conversation with CTL or access our website, it means that you agree to this privacy policy (“Privacy Policy”) described below, and our terms of service (“Terms”). If you don’t agree to this Privacy Policy, you may not use the Services.

Any changes to this Privacy Policy will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at crisistextline.org. Continuing to use the Services after we’ve changed this Privacy Policy will mean that you accept the revised Privacy Policy.

You can opt out of any conversation with CTL by texting or messaging the word STOP to us during that conversation. You can opt back in by texting or messaging us through our crisis support services again. 

WHAT INFORMATION WE COLLECT

Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is data that can uniquely identify you, such as your full name or home address. During a conversation through the Services, we may ask you for some PII, such as your name or home address. We will not share it with third parties except as noted in this Privacy Policy.

When you text or message us, we may automatically receive some PII and other information from you, which may include (i) your phone number, (ii) your mobile service provider, (iii) your IP address, and/or (iv) your internet service provider.

We keep records of conversations you have with us through the Services, including all messages sent or received. In those conversations, we may ask you for certain PII, such as your name, birthday, and address, particularly if necessary to help a person in grave danger. You can choose whether to provide that information. 

If you choose to take a survey of ours, you may choose whether to enter PII there or to keep your survey responses anonymous.

HOW WE MAY USE YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

We may process your data for many reasons, including to provide services to you, to improve our Services, and to contribute to knowledge about crises. We may use and share any information, including PII, that we collect via the Services amongst our employees, volunteers, agents, contractors, and service providers to support you, to operate, analyze, research, develop, deliver, audit, maintain, and improve CTL, our Services, content, and communications. 

WHEN WE MIGHT SHARE PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION WITH THIRD PARTIES

We care about your safety. We want to support you and others in staying safe and healthy and to do so in the least invasive way. In rare cases, this means we might contact and share your information with emergency services or other first responders if we believe it will prevent death or serious injury. Just saying “I’m feeling suicidal” does not necessarily mean we’ll contact emergency services. Our goal is to work with you on plans to keep you safe. But, in some cases, we may need to share your information with emergency services for them to try to locate you and help prevent death or serious injury. This could happen if your messages show that you intend to die by suicide, have identified a method, have access to that method, plan to take action soon, and are not willing or able to collaborate on a safety plan.

We also may need to share your information if you tell us about abuse or neglect which we are required by law to report to local authorities. This can happen if you say, for example, that a child under age 18 (or a disabled, dependent, or elderly adult) has experienced abuse or neglect. We may ask you for the affected person’s date of birth, name, and address to include in that report. You can choose not to provide the information that we ask you for. 

Additionally, we may share PII we collect from you to third parties if we believe it is necessary to: (A) comply with the law, a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of CTL, its affiliates, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers; (C) enforce our Terms or Privacy Policy; (D) comply with legal obligations associated with a sale, merger, or change of control of CTL or its affiliates; (E) address fraud, security, technical issues; or (F) to operate the Services or CTL’s infrastructure systems properly.

HOW WE MAY USE NON-IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

When you use our Services, we also collect certain kinds of anonymous non-identifiable information such as the date and time of day you texted in. We may also anonymize PII that we collect from you so that it cannot be used to identify you or to contact you, by removing or replacing personally identifiable information from it, making it non-identifiable.

We may use and share non-identifiable data with third parties for any reason. Some reasons are described below. 

  • Feedback

If you provide feedback to us in a survey, we may also ask for your permission to share a non-identifiable version of your feedback with the public — without your name, PII, or any identifying details, of course. Your message may give volunteers the energy to keep supporting people in crisis and inspire others to join or support CTL. 

  • Research

We share some anonymized data with researchers at universities and other institutions through a formal process with contracts in place. We do this to contribute to insights and discoveries that may benefit people in crisis. For more details, read about our Data Philosophy.

  • Improving Our Services

To help us improve our Services, we may collect and analyze non-identifiable information through third-party applications and services (such as Amplitude, FrontEnd, Storagize, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager). These applications and services collect data about how people use our Services, which may include your operating system, Internet browser, mobile device, or screen resolution. The data they collect may also include general usage information, such as whether you have reached out to us before, the number of our website’s visitors, or which links were clicked. This information may be collected in the form of cookies, local browser storage, or similar features. 

THIRD PARTY SERVICES 

  • Contacting CTL Through a Third Party Service

If you use a third party service (“Third Party Service”) such as Whatsapp to reach us, both CTL and the Third Party Service may have access to your information. Crisis Text Line and the Third Party Service may also share your information with each other (such as for legal reasons or to contact first responders in an emergency). 

Our Privacy Policy describes how CTL handles information you provide to us. If you contact us through a Third Party Service, the Third Party Service may have separate policies about how they handle your information. If you don’t want a Third Party Service to have your data, don’t use that Third Party Service. Instead you can contact us directly from within the U.S. by texting us at 741741 or using our webchat.

  • Recommending Another Resource During a Conversation

During a conversation, we may tell you about another program, resource, or website that we think could be helpful to you. If you choose to contact them, you should read their policies to decide whether to share your information with them. We will not share your information with that program or website.

OUR PURPOSES FOR PROCESSING YOUR DATA; TRIAGING

Our lawful purposes for processing your data include consent (where you have given consent), contract (where processing is necessary to deliver the support you requested by reaching out), protecting your vital interests, performing tasks carried out in the public interest, and the legitimate interests of CTL (namely, to help 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 people in crisis to reach a calmer, safer state of mind.

We may also use automated processes to help us triage the order in which you are connected with an available volunteer crisis counselor, based upon the urgency of your crisis.

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION

We care deeply about data privacy and data security. We take reasonable security precautions, including encryption, and other administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your PII from loss, theft, misuse, and unauthorized access. We store information on secure servers and we limit the CTL employees and third parties that have access to them. 

Although we take reasonable measures to protect your information, perfect security does not exist anywhere. We can’t guarantee that your information will never be exposed, or that our security measures will always be able to prevent unauthorized access by third parties.

  • How You May Further Protect Your Information

To protect your privacy on your own devices, you can delete CTL conversations from your devices, clear us from your browser history, and not save our number in your contact list.

  • Donor Privacy

CTL 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. For more information, please see our Donor Confidentiality Policy.

HOW LONG WE MAY STORE YOUR INFORMATION

CTL stores data for the purposes described above. We keep PII for no longer than seven years, and then either anonymize it, or delete it. We keep non-identifiable data — including the data we have de-identified — indefinitely.

HOW YOU CAN REQUEST ACCESS, DELETION, OR CHANGES TO YOUR INFORMATION

You can request access to or changes to your information in our records by emailing legal@crisistextline.org. We will require you to verify your identity for us to process your request. You can request that we delete your PII and conversation transcripts by texting or messaging the word DELETE to us, using whatever service you used to contact us (text, WhatsApp, or webchat), after which we will ask you to confirm your request.

We will try to process deletion requests quickly. We may decline to process requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require unreasonable technical effort, or are otherwise impractical, or which would conflict with a law enforcement matter. Additionally, we will decline to process deletion requests if we believe it is necessary to: (A) comply with the law, a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal obligations; (B) protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of CTL, its employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers; (C) enforce our Terms or Privacy Policy; (D) comply with legal obligations associated with a sale, merger, or change of control of CTL or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues; or (F) to operate the Services or their infrastructure systems properly.

If your data have already been anonymized, and your non-identifiable information has been shared, we will not be able to take back non-identifiable information that has been used or shared with others. We may continue to use and share non-identifiable data according to this Privacy Policy.

CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS

California Civil Code Section § 1798.83 permits users of our Services who are California residents to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please send an email to legal@crisistextline.org with “California Privacy Rights” in the subject line, or write to us at: Crisis Text Line, Attn: Legal Dept., 225 West 34th Street, Floor 9 — PMB# 9135, New York, NY 10122.

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 Privacy Policy to understand how we collect and use information.

IF YOU ACCESS CTL FROM OUTSIDE THE U.S., YOUR INFORMATION WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE U.S. 

CTL’s staff, volunteers, and contractors are primarily located across the United States, and may not be licensed in your state, trained in, or subject to your state’s law. 

The Services are primarily operated in the United States. If you are outside of the United States, any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. Your information may be accessed by CTL employees, volunteers, agents, contractors, and service providers located inside or outside of the United States. By using the Services and/or providing us with your information, you consent to the collection and transfer of your information in or out of the United States.

CONTACT US

If you are in crisis anywhere in the U.S. and want to reach one of our trained volunteers, please text us at 741741, contact us via WhatsApp at (443) SUP-PORT for English or (442) AYU-DAME for Spanish, or reach out to us via webchat. Message frequency varies. Message & data rates may apply.

CTL does not offer crisis counseling services outside of the U.S. If you are in crisis in the UK, Canada, or Ireland:

  • For the U.K. terms / privacy policy (Mental Health Innovations / Shout), click here.
  • For the Canada terms / privacy policy (Kids Help Phone), click here.
  • For the Ireland terms / privacy policy (Community Creations CLG / SpunOut / Text About It), click here.

If you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy or our Terms, please contact: info@crisistextline.org. You may also mail a request to us at Crisis Text Line, 225 West 34th Street, Floor 9 — PMB# 9135, New York, NY 10122.

You can email our customer service team at info@crisistextline.org if you have questions about this Privacy Policy. If you are in crisis and want support from one of our trained volunteer crisis counselors, please reach out to us through text, webchat, or WhatsApp. We don’t provide crisis counseling via email. You can find a list of other crisis lines, hotlines, and other support resources at CrisisTextLine.org/referrals

For media inquiries, please email press@crisistextline.org.

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