Thanksgiving. Christmas. Amazon Prime Day. Mean Girls Day. Nah, my favorite “holiday” the last few years has been Giving Tuesday. Since it launched in 2012, billions of dollars have been raised for charities on this annual day of giving.
My career has been built on other people’s money… i.e. philanthropy. I’ve been at the helm of three not-for-profits (Dress for Success, DoSomething.org, and now Crisis Text Line) that depend on the generosity of donors.
This year, I’m not asking for money. We need something bigger than cash. Crisis Text Line needs a more precious resource: empathy.
Empathy is the fuel powering Crisis Text Line. When someone texts us at 741741, they’re connected to a trained Crisis Counselor who helps them through their difficult moments all by text. About 65% of texters share something with us that they’ve never told anyone before — depression, anxiety, suicide, relationships, etc. With empathetic listening and kind affirmations, our Crisis Counselors help texters stop self-harming and listen to music instead, or walk away from a bottle of pills to make it to the next day.
Empathy works. It works so well that we’re able to de-escalate a suicide without engaging emergency services 99% of the time. And we have a satisfaction rating from our texters of 86%… Yep, people in pain are texting us about the hardest things in their lives, and they still rate our Crisis Counselors that high!
Since launching in 2013, we’ve trained more than 25,000 people. Moms. Grandpas. Grad students. Veterans. Flight attendants. Introverts. Survivors. Cat lovers. Duke basketball fans. Insomniacs. Poets. Lizzo fans. “This Is Us” fans. Regular, kind, caring people. YOU.
Apply to become a Crisis Counselor, and after passing the background check and 30-ish hour training, you’ll be able to help someone who is struggling from anywhere you have an internet connection. Our Crisis Counselors commit to volunteering four hours per week until 200 hours are reached. Ideally, you’ll fulfill your commitment within one year.
The skills you develop and use as a Crisis Counselor — active listening, collaborative problem-solving, and safety planning — will improve your relationships in real life. By #GivingTime this #GivingTuesday (see what we did there?) you’ll make a priceless impact.