Technology is Improving Access to Mental Health Services with The Crisis Text Line


Technology is Improving Access to Mental Health Services with The Crisis Text Line

Side by Side Wellness Center are constantly trying to change, adapt and come up with new ways to help preserve the mental health of anyone and everyone we come in contact with. Technology is advancing every day, making our lives increasingly easier, and we’ve now reached a point where we can use this advanced technology to reach out and help more people.

As licensed professional counselors in the state of Texas, we’re exploring what it means to be professional and supportive in this digital age and if we can use technology to text our clients.

Crisis Text Line, a New York-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is showing us that texting can help individuals in times of crisis.

Nancy Lublin is the founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7 resource available to individuals in the United States.

This is how it works:

  1. You begin to feel like you are in a crisis and don’t know where to go for help.
  2. You send a text message to 741741
  3. A trained Crisis Counselor responds to your text message

To learn more about how Crisis Text Line works, please click here.

The Crisis Counselors are volunteers that complete an application, agree to a background check, and complete thirty-four hours of web-based training. During their time volunteering, they are supervised by staff that holds graduate degrees in psychology, social work, or a related field.

I appreciate that the website states “Please note that we are not a replacement for counseling or long-term medical treatment. Our goal is to help you move from an emotionally overwhelming place to a sense of calm, at which point you feel ready to continue on your own.” The goal is to keep individuals from being hurt, hurting themselves, hurting others and then to get them connected to resources in their area.

In 2016, Crisis Text Line reported conducting more than 400,000 conversations through text messaging, which seems to imply there is a need for this type of service. They have the ability to offer crisis counseling depending on the number of volunteers they have trained and are willing to give their energy and time. If this vocation is calling you, please reach out to them and volunteer.

By offering a short quiz, the website attempts to help individuals discern if they are in a crisis situation and if they would benefit from texting a Crisis Counselor. While loneliness can be a difficult emotion, it may not be a crisis. The website also offers other ways to deal with your situation other than contacting them. They suggest slowing down your breathing while watching and matching your breath to a moving geometric shape on the computer screen, clicking on a link to play in virtual sand, practicing mindfulness, and following a link to download free coloring sheets.

We believe that texting is a valuable resource and reminds us of how revolutionary crisis counseling by phone was at one point in time. While Side by Side Wellness Center are not yet ready to offer counseling services through text messaging, we are ready to support crisis intervention through text messaging. We plan on sharing this resource with our colleagues, and you can play a role in spreading the word too.

Visit the Crisis Text Line website, print their one-page flyer and distribute it to as many people as you can. To view the flyer, please click here.

If you have any questions about Side by Side Wellness Center and our individual psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling, psychological testing and evaluations, group therapy, Christian counseling, educational assessments, chemical dependency counseling, vocational counseling and play therapy, please contact us by clicking here. To learn more about our specialties, please click here.

written by Sandra Bravo

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