Counseling Student Becomes Crisis Text Line Volunteer
“I want to disappear”. That is the first message I received upon logging onto the Crisis Text Line platform.
Although this is a common phrase to see when dealing with a crisis hotline, it still takes me a couple of seconds to get in the right headspace to deal with the situation. With this message, I knew that suicidal ideations were a possibility, and so I went forward with my imminent risk assessment to determine if the texter could remain safe. After messaging back and forth, the texter and I were able to come up with a temporary safety plan to ensure they did not harm themselves. Once the conversation ended and a debrief was filled out, I was on to the next texter in crisis. This is usually how I spend a chunk of my Sunday afternoons.
Each week I volunteer for a few hours with Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 support for people in crisis. Unfortunately, messages like this are a common occurrence on the platform.
Fortunately, there are thousands of fellow crisis counselors like myself who volunteer their time to respond to individuals in a crisis. Seeing these messages doesn’t get easier over time, but knowing how to handle them does.
Through extensive training, and time spent responding on the platform, I have learned how to help move people from “a hot moment to a cool calm”.
I chose to become a Crisis Text Line volunteer this past summer. I’m currently working towards my Master of Education in Counseling, and I wanted to gain outside experience before starting my internship and eventually heading out into the field. It feels good to help people during some of their lowest moments. Crisis intervention allows me to work on my active listening skills and empathic responses, all requirements of my future job as a counselor.
You can text 741741 from anywhere in the United States to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. And if you are interested in volunteering your time and becoming a crisis counselor, you can visit https://www.crisistextline.org/volunteer/.