The New York Times wrote a great piece about DoSomething.org’s Crisis Text Line, praising its importance and accessibility, particularly to teenagers for whom texting is the main source of communication.
The Crisis Text Line provides counseling, resources, and emotional support for a wide range of issues that adolescents face every day, from depression to abuse. Teenagers can text in their problems to a hotline and receive text message support from counselors. Since its inception last August, the Crisis Text Line has “exchanged nearly one million texts with 19,000 teenagers”.
The Times article explains how text exchanges can often provide better support than voice calls, both for those seeking help and those providing it. Text messages can give teens who are in crisis the help they need without drawing attention to them, whether they are in immediate danger or at school with their friends. The messages also provide a written transcript that teens can re-read in other times of need. Counselors can use the versatility of text messaging to interact with more than one person at a time. They also have an ongoing record of the conversation in case it’s picked up later, by them or a fellow volunteer. Article author Leslie Kaufman notes how many different issues this important new technology can tackle:“… the benefits [of text counseling], especially with adolescent issues, have made it an attractive option for hotlines dealing with specific social and emotional issues likes suicide, depression and sexual abuse.”
Text messaging also provides a simple way to analyze large amounts of data. The article cites Nancy Lublin, Crisis Text Line’s founder and the head of DoSomething.org, who notes that “children with eating disorders seek help more often Sunday through Tuesday, that self-cutters do not wait until after school to hurt themselves, and that depression is reported three times as much in El Paso as in Chicago.”
Lublin hopes that Crisis Text Line’s cache of data and insights will allow “public health officials… [to] tailor public policy solutions around it.”
So many powerful and amazing things are coming out of this program, and Mobile Commons is incredibly honored to partner with and support DoSomething.org on such an important project.
To reach the Crisis Text Line, text LISTEN to 741-741.