Crisis Text Line new avenue for help


Christmas and Hanukkah are just days away, a time when families get together and celebrate the joy of the season.

But that magic isn’t in store for everyone. There are some who won’t be joining in family gatherings, who won’t be part of the shopping crowds. Maybe it’s because it’s their first holiday without a loved one who passed away, or they’ve lost a job. They are feeling lonely, sad, even angry. It all threatens to overshadow the joys of the season.

Even harder, sometimes they just can’t muster a call to the local crisis hotline when the situation gets harder to handle. It just seems like they can’t reach out, for whatever reason, to talk with someone. How can they put that need on hold?

But that doesn’t have to happen now. In just a few keystrokes on a cellphone, anyone who needs help can find it via the Crisis Text Line.

The Crisis Text Line is now a reality for people who need to talk with someone at any moment. Kids who have been bullied in school or who are going through a tough time in their lives because of a crisis at home can find someone to chat with right away – on the bus ride home, or sitting in the family room. The counselors are ready to respond to whoever is texting them right where they are, right away.

The Crisis Text Line isn’t meant to act like or replace counseling or therapy. It’s designed to be a human response when someone has the need for help. It’s “in the moment” crisis work. In those times when a trusted friend isn’t close by, or maybe if the person needing to talk doesn’t trust another with the problem, the Crisis Text Line might be the next best option.

Here’s how it works:

By texting “4hope” to 741741 on your cellphone, you can connect with a trained crisis counselor. It’s that easy. Messages are confidential, anonymous, and secure. Replies come pretty quickly – within minutes. Once that rough period is over, the counselor can help find a local agency to call for counseling.

All this and not a single data charge on your cell phone bill. Most cell carriers like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile allow texts to 741741 without any cost – and it won’t show on your bill, either.

The crisis hotlines you may know are still going to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week (that number is 877-695-6333 for Warren and Clinton County residents). But changing times and lives call for easier access to help at any moment. The Crisis Text Line may just be the right answer for people of all ages to meet them in that moment.

Brent Lawyer has been executive director of Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren & Clinton Counties since 2002.

By Brent Lawyer

For the News Journal

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