FORT MYERS, Fla. Nancy Lublin, founder of Crisis Text Line, is trying to help people one text at a time.
“I think there’s a lot of pain right now in America,” Lublin said.
There have been approximately 52 million texts exchanged on the free and anonymous text line, Lublin said.
People like Harmony Nosker, a mom and Crisis Text Line volunteer, are on the other end of the phone. She deals with topics such as divorce, self-harm, depression and anxiety.
“Sometimes people just text in to see how we can support people,” Nosker said.
LINK: Crisis Text Line
The anonymity feature to the text line allows people to speak freely, but Lublin added there is one condition: an “active rescue” call that’s initiated by counselors in the event they’re unable to neutralize the conversation. The text line will then call local authorities.
“You’ve already swallowed a bottle of pills or there’s someone else who’s threatening your safety in the next room 09:57 and you’re at imminent risk for suicide or homicide,” Nancy said.
An “active rescue” happens in one percent of conversations, which consists of 15 per day.
Nosker had a conversation as a volunteer where she had to initiate the “active rescue,” and said she stayed on the phone until the ambulance came, but never heard anything after. She texter was scared to call the hotline for fear of being recognized, but Nosker was grateful they did.
“It was difficult to realize depression and anxiety can touch everyone, but it’s incredible that this person asked us for help, Nosker said.
Nosker said she admired people with the courage to text for help.
“People texting in does not show weakness, it shows strength,” Nosker said.
For parents talking to kids about different issues, Lublin has a couple of tips.
“Never ask why questions. A why question sounds like an accusation or condensing,” Lublin said. “You won’t get great information and you’ll alienate them.”
Lublin also explained a select three words are helpful to use in conversation: “smart, proud and brave.”
Volunteer counselors complete 34 hours of online training and practice conversations under the supervision of a paid staff member. Approximately one-third of people who apply for the position become counselors.
If you’re in need of help, text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US, anytime, about any type of crisis.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of texts exchanged with Crisis Text Line. The correct number is 52 million.