What happens when you text a crisis line?

September Is Suicide Prevention Month and I have been gathering resources to share on all my social media platforms. During my research I found myself wondering, what actually happens when you actually use these resources?

Like so many well-meaning folks online I too have posted, shared, and reblogged numerous websites, text chat lines, and phone numbers designed for those struggling with their mental health. The content can vary greatly from a directory of different mental health professionals to emergency numbers and crisis centers.

I see the post TEXT HOME TO 741 741 quite a bit. As a matter of fact, I even included this text line as a resource in the back of my book The Anxiety Diaries.

I decided to investigate the source to get a better understanding of how the text line works and if it is truly a crisis line and what that entails.

On the website, there is a FAQ that gives you the rundown of what you can expect if you or a loved one text the Crisis Line.

This is what I've gathered from their website


The first thing that happens after you text HOME to 741 741 is the user gets an immediate text back with emergency resources.

Shortly thereafter you will get a text message stating Hi. This is the Crisis Line. You are not alone.

You will then be prompted to text back any response to continuing and by doing so you are agreeing to their terms and conditions,( they send you a link with the details.)

Within minutes you will receive your first text from a counselor. Your counselor will tell you their name, ensure that they're not a robot, but in fact human, and let you know that they are there to support you, help, and listen.

From the site's FAQ

How Do Crisis Counselors Help in a Crisis?

-Our Crisis Counselors bring texters “from a hot moment to a cool calm” using techniques in empathetic listening. Once they’ve built rapport and trust, explored the issues, and established the texter’s goal, they collaboratively problem-solve to help the texter come up with a plan to stay safe.

Can I Text in more than once?

You can text in again if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

Is there another way to reach the Crisis counselors?

Yes, we’re leveraging messaging apps!

  1. You can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Using the “Send Message” button at facebook.com/crisistextline button will connect you to a live Crisis Counselor.

  2. You can reach us through WhatsApp by messaging 443-SUP-PORT.

  3. We are NOT yet available on other messaging apps, including Google Voice and TextNow. We apologize for any inconvenience and invite you to use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp if you’re unable to use regular SMS for any reason.

While the website admits that they are not a substitution for regular therapy there is a great need for a resource like this at our fingertips. If you or someone is in a crisis please seek help. I promise you, it will get better. You are not alone.

For more mental health resources please click here.

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