Teenagers may have their smartphones in their hands every second, but most of them hate talking on the phone. But they do text and share messages over social media. Hundreds of counselors are volunteering to connect with those teenagers who need to talk about what they’re experiencing, but over text messages and messaging apps.
The Crisis Text Line is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service where children and teenagers can connect with a licensed counselor over text messages. It’s as simple as sending a text to “home”, or 741-741. When they do, one of the volunteer counselors will text back, usually within a couple of minutes.
The trained counselors will stay in the message string for as long as the teenager needs to communicate. The messages are private with the same confidentiality rules that apply when a counselor meets someone in their office or over the phone.
Teenagers can even chat now with counselors over the popular messaging app “What’s App” by messaging 443-Sup-port, and over the internet and crisistextline.org.
Since it launched in 2013, counselors have had over 8.3 million conversations. The most frequent issues teenagers and children want to chat about are relationships, depression, suicide, and loneliness.
Crisis Text Line is a non-profit and relies on private donations. It’s also seeking trained counselors to volunteer their time to answer texts as they come in.
Again, the number to text is 741-741 or “home”.
If you work around teenagers, or in a school or church, you can download free flyers and posters to share or post on a bulletin board.