Texting That Saves Lives
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Texting That Saves Lives

Crisis Textline is a free, 24/7 emotional support to those in crisis.

Texting That Saves Lives

In February 2012, Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org, gave a Ted Talk in Long Beach, CA. At the beginning of her talk, she held up a cell phone and said, “To most of you, this is a device to buy, sell, play games, watch videos. I think it might be a lifeline. I think actually it might be able to save more lives than penicillin.”

What she’s talking about is Crisis Text Line (CTL), a platform started by DoSomething.org in response to a need for a text messaging-based crisis hotline for people ages 13-25. Here’s how it works (taken from their website):

1. A teen texts into CTL anywhere, anytime. 

2. A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly. 

3. The specialist helps the teen stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL's platform. 

Over 5.3 million messages have been exchanged since Crisis Text Line launched in August 2013. The specialists that CTL uses are rigorously trained volunteers and employees of actual crisis centers. As a volunteer, I went through over 30 hours of training in addition to eight hours of observation, and had to pass through a series of interviews and a background check before being accepted to the program or allowed on the platform. This whole process took over two months, as volunteers are trained to deal with every conceivable type of crisis.

The way CTL specialists help the texters is through active listening. They do not give advice or serve as a replacement to therapy; rather, they use communication techniques that are empathetic, understanding and respectful with a focus on the texter and their problems.

This service is exceedingly important in a generation that shies away from phone calls and relies on text-based communication. Through CTL, texters remain anonymous and are able to communicate their feelings in a way that is familiar to them. This service could be especially helpful for college students, as we often have this idea that everyone around us has their life together and we don’t want them to know that we’re struggling. This way, no one else has to know unless you want them to.

Another use for CTL is data collection. Lublin said in her Ted Talk, “There is no census on bullying and dating abuse and eating disorders and cutting and rape...Maybe there's some studies, some longitudinal studies, that cost lots of money and took lots of time...Imagine having real time data on every one of those issues. You could inform legislation. You could inform school policy.” 

A website called Crisis Trends advises principals that teens struggle with school issues at an alarming rate on Tuesdays. It informs Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) organizations that teens are most affected by LGBTQ issues in New Mexico, Georgia and Alaska. It cautions counselors that noon is the time of day when teens are most affected by suicidal thoughts.

All someone has to do is text 741-741 at any time of day (the line is open 24 hours a day) to receive crisis counseling and referrals. It can help one through a crisis and it can save lives. 

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments