How To Use The Text Crisis Line For Depression

When you’re living with a mental illness there are going to be times when it feels like too much of a burden to carry on your own, and this is an instinct to which you should listen. But what can you do if you’re alone, without a support system that truly understands how difficult it can be?

For this very situation, there exists a nationwide depression crisis hotline at 741741 — no need to call, just text. In this post, we’ll tell you exactly how it works as well as dispelling any common misconceptions about the use of this service so that the next time you’re in crisis, you feel comfortable reaching out.

man on his cell phone
All you have to do is text HOME to 741741

How does it work?

The process is very simple — all you have to do is text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US at any time, and you will be connected, usually in less than five minutes, to a trained crisis counselor whose purpose is specifically to listen to you. When both you and the counselor agree that you’re in a cooler, calmer place, the conversation will end, and you will be prompted to take an optional survey about your experience that is meant to make the whole process more effective for people like you. It should be noted that while the counselors are there to support you in your difficulties, they can’t provide medical advice and may advise you to seek further help.

What are some common misconceptions?

You have to be suicidal to use a crisis hotline

Nope! If you think it’s a crisis, then it’s a crisis. Remember, you know yourself best, and the good people at the crisis hotline are aware of this and trust your judgement about your own mental health. In fact, less than one percent of the people who have texted this hotline are actively suicidal and in need of a rescue. If you are on the fence about reaching out, you should do it — it will make you feel better.

It takes a long time to connect with a counselor

a watch
Despite what you may think, it actually usually takes very little time to connect with a counselor.

It takes a long time to connect with a counselor

Actually, as mentioned above, it usually takes less than five minutes to talk to a counselor, and your wait time is not actually based on where in the order you stand. When you first text in and give an overview of your crisis, an algorithm assesses your level of risk, and those with higher risk are connected with a counselor sooner.

You also might think that you won’t be able to connect with your counselor on a social level over text. In fact, it might actually be easier for you, as you won’t be stumbling over your words or worrying about composing your facial expressions. This allows you and your counselor to discuss the issue at hand quickly, and will likely make you feel more comfortable in the long run.

snowflake ornament on a Christmas tree
Holidays are actually one of the least busy times for crisis lines

Crisis lines are busier during holidays

While holidays can be stressful for many, the data shows that 20 percent fewer texts come in during holidays than at any time. Either way, if you would like to text the crisis hotline, you shouldn’t let the fear of it being too busy stop you from doing so.

All this is to say that if you feel that you are in crisis and would like a listening ear, text HOME to 741741. It’s the easiest, least awkward thing in the world, and it’ll make you feel so much better.

For questions, partnerships, or to get covered on the GRW blog, click here.

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