Texting has overtaken phone calls as the preferred method of communication over the past decade. A 2014 Gallup poll found that texting is the "dominant way of communicating for Americans under 50."
So it follows that crisis hotlines are being replaced by crisis text lines.
Enter Crisis Text Line: 741741. I have recommended this crisis text line to countless clients with overwhelmingly positive feedback. All you do is text anything at all, even just "Hello," to 741741 and you get a quick response from a trained counselor.
1. You can think before typing. When you're speaking over the phone, the pressure is on to immediately have a response. Especially when emotions are running high, it is hard to have a clear train of thought. Writing it out and having the ability to edit before hitting send helps you get clear on the message you want to send.
2. It's efficient. Phone calls simply add time. When you make a phone call, you need to dial, wait for the phone to ring, maybe there's some hold time, and then when someone answers you introduce yourselves and maybe exchange some niceties, and then finally you can get to the point. All of that can be bypassed with a text.
3. It's more private. When you talking on the phone, anyone with functioning ears nearby can overhear you. Speaking in a hushed voice might actually call even more attention to you. Trying to get to a private place takes some effort. Whereas by text, you can be anywhere, anytime discussing the most sensitive information and people around you are none the wiser.
4. It's less awkward. For some of us, social interactions are painful and anxiety-producing. Texting all but removes that.
5. It's easier to reveal harder stuff. When you speak your deepest, darkest thoughts, it's almost like you're the lead role in a live performance. Most of us have a much easier time writing it down or filling in a bubble on a survey than actually saying the words out loud.
You don't have to be suicidal to text a crisis line. You just have to be in a "hot moment" of emotions and could use some help cooling things down. Program it in your phone under a fake name. Share it with your friends.
More information at www.crisistextline.org.