How Texting Can Help Save a Life

SEP. 14, 2016

By Dawn Brown

“I have a crisis counselor in my pocket,” 18-year-old Samuel told me. “I love those people. They saved my life.” Like many teens, Samuel experiences depression and anxiety. These mental health conditions place him at a higher risk for suicide: the third leading cause of death for people aged 10-24.

What Samuel actually has in his pocket is his cell phone. By simply texting the word “NAMI” to 741741 Samuel—or anyone—can directly connect with a crisis counselor trained to offer help and put them at ease.

Mental health conditions can be unpredictable. While no one wants to worry about the possibility of a crisis—they can happen. That’s why NAMI and Crisis Text Line have partnered to bring crisis texting to our communities. Our goal is to provide hope and resources to any person who needs help.

According to the Pew Research Center, teenagers send an average of 100 texts per day—3,100 per month. It’s a concise, direct form of communication that helps contain emotional situations. It doesn’t put anyone on the spot or demand immediate answers. And for the past three years, hundreds of thousands of teenagers have used Crisis Text Line for 24/7 crisis interventions. The average exchange lasts about an hour, or if there’s a risk of suicide, as long as necessary.

Crisis Text Line uses a network of over 1,500 well-trained and supervised volunteer crisis counselors that train and volunteer from home. Each has completed 34 hours of training on reflective listening, collaborative problem solving and crisis management. If you have a heart for helping people, check-out information on how to become a volunteer.

Along with NAMI 741741 crisis texting, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) can connect you with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

NAMI is also committed to providing quick assistance to a person in crisis. The NAMI HelpLine offers information on what to do in an emergency or crisis, information on mental health crisis services and being prepared for a possible crisis. HelpLine volunteers are also able to provide empathetic support, connect callers with their local NAMI and provide information about NAMI Education Programs and Support Groups.

No one should have to face a crisis alone, and no one should believe that suicide is their only option.


OCT, 04, 2016 10:29:30 AM
Heather Frederick
I too volunteer at Crisis Textline and have never seen a more caring group of people from all over the country that truly make a difference. We are also treated with respect and concern from this organization and all the positivity is contagious.

SEP, 30, 2016 08:16:42 PM
Renee Simmerman
This is a great idea I love it. Now others and myself have an outlet to help. I give it a thumbs up!

SEP, 28, 2016 08:26:46 PM
tammy cowdell
Can I be part of this blog

SEP, 28, 2016 07:21:28 PM
Lorraine Pata Bavaro
I too have been dealing with mental Illness for a long time. My son Joseph has been taking care of me since 17. My husband died in 2006, and I was hospitalized. I realized tonight that I am ruining my sons life. This month has been really hard. My pyschiatrist wrote a letter to the owners of my building that my support animal has to be returned under the Ferderal Law. To date, week later, they are having a meeting on IT. I am so lost! Lorraine

SEP, 26, 2016 10:11:57 PM
I have cancer and mental health problems had a 10 hour surgery in 2014 aug and no one cared ... lost my parents and my family abandoned me .. no one cares and I sit in my room and let my muscles deteriorate and don't shower and I tell drs and no one helps me or cares or believes it .. I've gone months without a shower I just don't care anymore ... I've tried to get help here but since I moved to hell where I am now alone and don't know anyone ... and it's the boonies no god hellp here or any help for that matter

SEP, 22, 2016 10:29:03 PM
Vicki Schmidt
I had a dark painful childhood including but not limited to sexually being abused by my brother not my dad. I've attempt suiside many times. But self mutilation has been an ongoing issue my intire life i have excellent insurance and I am 55 years old now and still doing the same stuff. I spent 9 days in sovereign heath in Palm Springs and felt strong enough to go home But things here are exactly as they were. Ive cut myself twice since I got out. I can't find a psychiatric doctor that can see me b4 10/02
I call everyday requesting to be seen sooner but no luck. I'd appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you Vicki

SEP, 16, 2016 12:39:59 PM
Megan Alvarado
I'm coming up on my first full year as a crisis counselor for this amazing organization. They treat us volunteers with so much respect and love. Self-care is such an important thing for us. I honestly have felt so impacted by some of the conversations I've worked on. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this crisis counseling revolution!!!!

SEP, 16, 2016 06:44:30 AM
Carolyn Ford
Wow! This is amazing!

Submit to the NAMI Blog

We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.

Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.