51 Things I Learned As A Crisis Text Line Counselor
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51 Things I Learned Working 200 Hours As A Crisis Text Line Counselor

There is never a dull moment.

51 Things I Learned Working 200 Hours As A Crisis Text Line Counselor
Kelsey Dietrich

About six months, I completed an online training program that consisted of modules, text, videos, simulations, and great feedback, to be a Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line. Upon completion, I became a qualified volunteer for this amazing resource that offers 24/7 emotional support to all people confidentially. Through the collaboration of working with other Crisis Counselors, platform supervisors, and the texters, I have learned so many incredible things. Here are 51 of the most impactful lessons that were reiterated while completing my 200-hour commitment volunteering via Crisis Text Line.

1. Every crisis situation is unique.

No two scenarios are alike because no two people are alike.

2. It takes a commendable amount of bravery to reach out for support.

Voicing what you are going through is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

3. What may not seem like a crisis to you truly seems like a crisis to somebody else.

Thus, there is no tolerance for judgement.

4. Words are powerful.

SO incredibly powerful.

5. Crisis Counselors are not robots

It is totally understandable that it may be assumed that the person on the other end is a robot. Something that is really cool about this resource is that every Crisis Counselor is a human being!

6. Talking about stress can help alleviate it. 

It's even better when you have an active and mindful listener on the receiving end.

7. Conveying what one is going through can be hard to do.

But it is a really important part of the healing process.

8. Patience is an important skill to have. 

For everyone, in all walks of life, no matter what.

9. Self-care should always be a part of one's daily routine. 

Prioritizing self-care is not selfish.

10. There are at least 99 coping skills to handling stress.

Honestly, anything could probably be a coping skill, but Crisis Counselors have an amazing referral link to at least 99 positive coping skills.

11. Even when you feel like giving up, there is someone out there who cares about you.

Always remember that.

12. Asking questions shows that you are concerned. 

Even if you think that it is a weird question to ask, never assume and always ask for safety purposes.

13. Never tell somebody what to do. 

It's nice to help people view different options and perspectives about a situation, but it is not your job to tell them what they should do about it.

14. Collaborative problem-solving can be really helpful. 

While you cannot tell somebody what to do, you can still collaborate and guide them through how to choose what's best for them.

15. A lot of people ask for advice about their situation, so steering the conversation back to focus on them can be challenging. 

Once again, you cannot tell people what to do; rather, you can empower them to choose what's best for them at the moment.

16. Validate, validate, validate.

17. During a spike, I am always amazed at how many people are reaching out to this service. 

You don't truly understand how many people this resource reaches until you witness it firsthand.

18. But what's even more amazing is how well the Crisis Counselors respond to and handle the influx of texters during a spike. 

Truly amazing.

19. More people text in during the night. 

20. Asking somebody how they are feeling is really important.

It makes a whole world of difference when somebody actually takes the time to ask.

21. All people deserve a mindful listener. 


22. The only one who can determine what action to take about a situation that you are in is ultimately YOU.

23. Unfortunately, prank texters do exist. 

Another thing I would never have expected is the sad amount of prank texters who will use the system.

24. A crisis can commence at any point in one's life, no matter what their circumstances may be.

25. Everyone is going through a lot.

This has been eye-opening to realize and keep in mind when talking with anyone even off of the platform.

26. Realizing that everyone has a lot going on can really put your own life into perspective.

27. And it also lets you know that you are not alone.

28. The power of technology is mind-blowing. 

It is great that this resource exists and it wouldn't be possible without technology.

29. There are so many resources available that simply want to help people in need.

30. Always respect a person's pronouns. 

Asking up front is a great thing to do because it shows that you are open to their identity.

31. Keep an open-mind and an open-heart for every conversation.

32. Risk-assessing for suicide will not actually plant the idea into one's mind. 

This is something that I was not aware of until I completed my Crisis Text Line training.

33. Normalizing the importance of mental health is crucial.

Society seems to think it is okay to get assistance for physical health without the blink of an eye, so why isn't mental health treated the same way?

34. And it begins by having conversations. 

35. That normalization is then followed by advocacy.

36. Cultivating a judgement-free world will help people to feel comfortable in sharing their experiences and eventually reaching out for help.

37. It's OK to not know how to handle a difficult situation. 

You will figure it out as you go.

38. This makes me even more thankful for a supportive community of other Crisis Counselors and Supervisors on the platform.

We can all learn from each other.

39. Sometimes, texters will end the conversation abruptly.

This is nothing to take personally; we never know what their current situation is.

40. The freedom of choice is always a priority. 

41. When texters are grateful for you, it means the world. 

You feel like you really did have an impact.

42. People can still be grateful even when they have experienced something horrible.

Realizing this has taught me so much about the amazing resiliency of humans.

43. Always say "please."

It makes more of a difference than you may think.

44. Always say "thank you."

This leaves the giver feeling appreciated.

45. It is challenging to control personal emotions when somebody in crisis is reacting towards you.

46. But it's super important to learn how to keep those personal feelings outside of the crisis situation.

47. I never realized how much impact other (anonymous) people could have on me.

This shows how much I loved doing this type of work.

48. I will always leave feedback after utilizing any type of service from now on because it is a great source of growth. 

I enjoyed receiving feedback from texters and supervisors, so I will always leave feedback from services I utilize because I know how valuable it is.

49. Choose your words carefully. 

Since words are powerful, we must be mindful of which ones we choose to use.

50. Compliments are very much appreciated.

51. Everyone deserves help if they want it. 

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