Text message exchange asking for help

Crisis Text Line’s Texts From Teens Build Real-Time Maps of Crisis in America

May 1, 2015

When texters first send a message, they receive an automated response welcoming them, offering up the service’s privacy policy, and showing them how to opt out by writing “STOP.” Within five minutes on average, a volunteer counselor will respond. Lublin’s team has grown adept at using keywords to flag messages coming from more vulnerable texters, directing them to more experienced help more quickly.

Using geographic data along with keywords, CTL can also provide scripts for its counselors. Often returning texts from their couches at home, these volunteers can take on up to ten conversations at a time, keeping track of them on a software program that looks a bit like Facebook. As the software analyzes incoming texts, it can send counselors targeted messages like, “There’s a 99 percent chance this texter has a substance abuse issue. Here are three rehab programs within the texter’s area code.” On average, CTL helps initiate the physical rescue of at least two kids in danger of committing suicide every day.

Read the article here.