NEW YORK, April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Crisis Text Line, the not-for-profit providing free crisis counseling over text message, 24/7, was announced as one of this year's Audacious projects. The org announced plans to expand its life-saving service to 32% of the world.
"Pain isn't an American experience, it's a human experience," said Nancy Lublin, Co-Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line.
Crisis Text Line will roll out its resources to provide aid to anyone who needs it in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Arabic. The original goal was to do 5 languages in 5 years. But COVID-19 and the quarantines have created a mental health crisis. So Crisis Text Line slashed its timeline by 50% and will complete this audacious plan by the end of 2022.
"People need help all over the world. With this expansion, we'll process 1 billion messages in just the next few years," said Bob Filbin, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer of Crisis Text Line. "With such a large data corpus, we'll be positioned to fuel academic research, inform smart policy, and make sure mental health support is delivered where it is needed most."
Crisis Text Line Co-Founder and CEO Nancy Lublin announced this accelerated plan via a TED Talk at "TED2020: The Prequel," where Crisis Text Line was revealed as one of three 2020 Audacious projects spearheading bold and innovative responses to COVID-19. Watch the TED talk here.
To make this rapid expansion possible, Crisis Text Line has hired Ben Kolin as Chief Technology Officer. He previously served as the Director of Engineering, Money at Uber. Ms. Lublin noted, "Ben has traded his red light saber for a blue light saber."
"I am thrilled to be at Crisis Text Line where I can put my industry experience to good use helping ease some of the pain in the world," said Ben Kolin, Chief Technology Officer.
"The need for Crisis Text Line's services is greater than ever as the novel coronavirus pandemic—including the secondary impact of quarantines—fuels a mental health crisis," said Anna Verghese, Executive Director, The Audacious Project at TED. "We're grateful to be able to support Crisis Text Line as they scale and improve access to mental health services for a greater number of communities across the globe."
This announcement comes at a time when Crisis Text Line's services are more important than ever - since the beginning of March, Crisis Text Line has seen a 40% increase in texter volume due to the mental health echo of COVID-19 and the quarantines. And the types of issues have shifted with a 48% increase in sexual abuse conversations and a 74% increase in domestic violence conversations.
Crisis Text Line quietly launched in 2013 in Chicago and El Paso—and within 4 months was taking conversations from all 274 area codes in the USA. In the past two years, Crisis Text Line made the service available to people in other countries including Canada, the UK, and Ireland. Today, they have trained over 30,000 volunteer Crisis Counselors and exchanged more than 150M messages.
Crisis Text Line reaches people most in need of support and the least likely to access it.
- Young. 75% of texters are under 25 years old. And a whopping 12% are under age 13.
- Poor. 10% of the lowest income zip codes account for 19% of volume.
- Rural. 7.5% of USA counties are considered rural--and they account for 9.8% of volume.
- People of color. 17% of texters identify as Hispanic; 13% Black; 5.5% Native American.
- LGBTQ+. 44% of texters identify as LGBTQ+.
The organization is known for its innovative use of technology and data, leveraging machine learning to stack-rank the queue and take the high risk people first.
About Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support for people in crisis via text. Crisis Counselors complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time Crisis Text Line mental health professionals. In the US, Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line currently offers its service in the USA, UK, Canada, and Ireland.
About The Audacious Project
Launched in April 2018, The Audacious Project is a collaborative funding initiative that's catalyzing social impact on a grand scale. Housed at TED, the nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading, and with support from leading social impact advisor The Bridgespan Group, The Audacious Project convenes funders and social entrepreneurs with the goal of supporting bold solutions to the world's most urgent challenges. The Audacious Project's funding collective is made up of respected organizations and individuals in philanthropy, including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, The Valhalla Charitable Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies and more.
Each year, The Audacious Project supports a new cohort. The Audacious Project is proud to unveil Crisis Text Line, The Collins Lab and ACEGID as the first of eight new grantees from the 2020 cohort. With their bold solutions to COVID-19, these projects are delivering an audacious response to some of the world's biggest—and most urgent—challenges. The remainder of the cohort will be announced in the coming weeks.
Learn more at AudaciousProject.org.
SOURCE Crisis Text Line