Anonymous Texting Service Can Help Users Overcome Stressful, Emergency Situations
Albany, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced the launch of a partnership between OMH and Crisis Text Line (CTL), a national not-for-profit organization that provides free, 24-hour text-based support for people who are experiencing a mental health or situational crisis. CTL has helped users who are facing suicidal thoughts, maternal depression, cyberbullying, family emergencies, anxiety and more.
“A crisis can happen to anyone at any time. Although the Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for counseling or therapy, it can offer individuals in crisis help when they need it the most,” said OMH Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan. “New York State’s keyword, “GOT5”, tells anyone in distress that we’ve got the time to listen if you are in crisis and these trained counselors will be able to give you the assistance you need to deal with the situation at hand.”
By texting “GOT5” to 741-741, users are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor, who will help them sort through their crisis and develop a plan to stay safe. The trained volunteer Crisis Counselors are supervised by full-time licensed mental health professional staff.
Text messages are confidential, anonymous and secure. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill.
The Director of the OMH Suicide Prevention Office, Dr. Jay Carruthers said, “Crisis Text Line offers people help when they need it the most, at any time and any place–whether at school, work, home, or somewhere else. If you can text, you are never alone. It provides an opportunity to connect with a trained counselor during a time of need.”
By partnering with Crisis Text Line, OMH will receive data reports of all texts with the NYS keyword, “GOT5”. While users of CTL remain completely anonymous, the data collected is used to identify trends, which can help OMH to better target and improve mental health services for people in crisis situations across the state.
To help service providers, mental health departments, schools, organizations advocates, and community groups spread the word about the CTL service and New York State’s keyword and partnership, OMH has created a downloadable Marketing Toolkit that is available on its website. The toolkit includes FAQ documents, suggestions on what interested groups can do to promote the service, graphics for posters, stickers and other marketing material.
About Crisis Text Line
CTL was founded in August 2013 and has seen enormous growth – receiving more than 67 million messages to date. Approximately 75% of all users are 25 years old or younger. Users seek help for a number of issues, including anxiety/stress, depression/sadness, relationship stress, suicide, bullying, and physical or emotional abuse. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have used the service to date.
About the Counselors
CTL counselors receive over 30 hours of online training and are supervised by licensed clinicians. Supervisors are promptly brought into conversations in which the texter seems to be at imminent risk of hurting self or others.
If you are interested in serving as a CTL volunteer, you must be over 18, go through a rigorous applications process that includes a background check, and successfully complete the required training. Interested persons can apply through crisistextline.org.