If I told you that you could text a trained volunteer, right now amid COVID’s resource shifting chaos, and get a response within a minute what would you say? I could even throw in that it’s completely free as long as you have a means of texting. It’s called the Crisis Text Line and it is 741741. It doesn’t matter your area code, the time of day, whether your in therapy or not, whether your sober or treated. If you are experiencing a crisis and want help don’t hesitate to dial them. This is a 100% confidential service. You can even contact them multiple times in 24 hours, though you will probably get a different volunteer.
Founded by DoSomething.org, a nonprofit that empowers young people to start and execute such campaigns as voter registration, aid to the homeless, and tackling domestic hunger. Over the years it grew with volunteers, resources and expanded its purview. A well trained and dedicated army of volunteers is standing by to help with anything from anxiety, self-harm, depression, loneliness, abuse to whatever is wrecking your life. If you don’t have a working cell or texting app you can also message them on Facebook or on their site.
THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT TO THERAPY. To be clear this is more of a stop-gap measure. Crisis volunteers are well trained and equipped with resources but they are only volunteers. Diagnosing needs and revealing long term treatment options is within the mission. This is less medicine and more bandaid. Bandaids made out of duct tape.
I hit up the Crisis Text Line last week because I was going into a manic spin. At first, I was skeptical, then I was annoyed with all the questions (there was 3-4 max). I started to ineptly breakdown my situation, not feeling I was articulating anything but crazy and desperate. I paused the relentless bombardment of paragraphs. I felt empty, like crying and dumb for having expectations for a free texting service. My volunteer’s name was Helen and her genuine remarks and trained questions turned an internal hurricane to a fall breeze. It was free, confidential and made me feel better 14 minutes after my initial text.
Imposed isolation has hampered everyone’s social resources, including our emotional support and sanity validators. Sure, facetime and zoom help greatly and this is just text line, but it is a number that will always text you back. Instantly. It’s a number that will always have a person ready to listen and help. Our friends are human as well, they can’t stand ready for you all the time.
I won’t say that the Crisis Text Line was made for COVID, it has been making a difference since 2013. I will say that it’s a welcome addition in the messed up rollercoaster this Spring is shaping up to be.