If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:
While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.
If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.
Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org
Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?
- You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
- A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
- The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.
Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?
A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.
Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?
A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.
Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?
A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?
A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?
A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.
Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?
A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.
Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?
A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.
Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?
A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.
Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?
A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.
Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.
Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?
Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.
Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?
A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?
A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?
A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?
A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.
Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?
A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.
Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?
A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.
Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?
A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.
Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
Crisis Text Line
Attn: Finance Dept.
24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10010
Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?
A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.
Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?
A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.
Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?
A: 2014 here and 2015 here.
Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?
A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.
Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!
Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.
Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?
A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.
Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?
A: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?
A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:
- Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
- Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
- Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year
Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?
A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.
Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?
A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.
Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?
A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!
Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?
A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.
Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?
A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.
Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?
A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.
Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?
A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.
Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?
A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.
Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?
A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.
Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email email@example.com.
Terms of Service
Check out our FAQs
Help Make it Happen
Want to start a crisis text line in your country? firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.
Keep me posted