I recently decided I wanted to get more involved in volunteer work. I made an account on VolunteerMatch.org and found Crisis Text Line.
Crisis Text Line is basically like a crisis/suicide phone hotline but instead of talking over the phone, people can text us. The founder of CTL, Nancy Lublin, came up with the idea when she realized that a lot of people (especially younger people) are more comfortable with texting than talking on the phone. And I think she’s right. Aside from the fact that younger people are more comfortable with texting, talking on the phone can sometimes create pressure for someone. They may feel like they have to say something immediately even if they need time to formulate their thoughts. Texting helps remove this problem. Not to mention, people are often in crisis situations when they’re in areas where speaking could be overheard by others. In situations like that, a text hotline can give a person more privacy.
Becoming a Crisis Counselor
If you’d like to volunteer for Crisis Text Line as a Crisis Counselor you have to fill out an application, provide two references, pass a background check, and then complete 36 hours of training. The training isn’t hard, but it’s A LOT of information, so I recommend taking notes. The training is all done online and it’s self-paced. You have a coach that helps you the entire time. My coach was great. She gave me very actionable feedback so I always knew exactly what I was doing right and what I needed to work on.
After you complete your training you’ll commit to 200 hours of volunteering. Most volunteers work 4 hours a week, but you can work up to 12.
My First Shift for Crisis Text Line
I was really nervous on my first shift but I got advice from other, more experienced Crisis Counselors and I had a great supervisor that also gave me feedback. I had a total of 4 conversations and even though I was constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing, everyone said they felt better after they had talked to me. And that’s what we’re there for. 🙂 Crisis Text Line’s goal in their own words is “Helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy.”
If you are looking for a way to help people (especially if you want to volunteer from home) you should consider becoming a Crisis Counselor. Not only would you be helping people in their worst moments, you would be a part of a really great and supportive community. It’s a great organization and I’m proud to be a part of it. 🙂
If you enjoyed this post you might also like “My Experience as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer“.