Mental Health Crisis Text-line

Mental health crisis counseling free of charge is provided to people who need it via a simple text message.

mental health crisis text line

Getting help from a trained mental health counselor can be as easy as texting START to 741-741. (Flickr / Creative Commons / Jeffrey Kontur)

If you are in crisis, all you need to do is text START to 741-741. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly. This person will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment. The idea of using texting is good because it can help people who may not be comfortable talking over the phone.

Nancy Lublin is the CEO and founder of the Crisis Text Line. The idea started when a young woman in crisis texted with a heartbreaking cry for help. After about 6.5 million texts, the organization is still helping people handle addiction, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, sexual abuse and more through the privacy and power of text messaging.

They started in Chicago and El Paso with just a few thousand people in each market. In four months, they were in all 295 area codes in America. That was zero marketing and faster growth than when Facebook first launched. Texting is uniquely private. Nobody knows it’s you who is texting.

They are doing about 2.41 active rescues a day, where someone is suicidal and they need to send a rescue team to help. Thirty percent of their texts are about suicide and depression.

“The beautiful thing about Crisis Text Line is that these are strangers counseling other strangers on the most intimate issues and getting them from hot moments to cold moments,” Lublin said.

The anonymous data is helping people discover when and where these crises are most likely to happen, and this is helping schools and law enforcement prepare for them. It is anonymously published on This is coming at a critical time when the suicide rate has reached a 30-year high. The suicide rate in 10- to 14-year-old girls has tripled since 1999.

The data uncovered that if someone is texting certain words there is a likely possibility that they are suffering from one circumstance, whether it be cutting, drug abuse, or questioning if they are gay. Then the counselor is prompted with some questions that they can ask the person. The algorithm also flags severity of the text. So if you text “I want to die,” your text is flagged and you automatically become number one in the queue.

The service is available 24 hours per day every day and throughout the United States. The service is also available in Facebook messenger.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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