Crisis Text Line FAQ

Menstuff® has information on the Crisis Text Line.

Crisis Text Hotline 741741

What is its origin?
How does it work?
Who should text in?
What is it?
About us
Our principles
R U There?  The New Yorker
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TED Talks - Crisis Next Line - Must See

What is the Crisis Text Line?

Statistics show that.."Only 5% of teens are willing to call phone crisis lines, but they're
more willing to text. Text 741741 is a way to text anonymously with a crisis counselor."

What is its origin?

In September 2015, an image began circulating via social media web sites, stating that teens can text 741741 in order to speak with a crisis counselor. However, many viewers were skeptical about the putative program since the organization behind it was not identified in the image.

But 741741 is indeed the number for the Crisis Text Hotline. While the meme specified "teens," the number is available to anyone in crisis:

How does the Crisis Text Line work?

You text 741741 when in crisis. Anywhere, anytime.

A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.

The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using CTL’s secure platform.

Who should text in?

A: We exist to help anyone in crisis any time.

The Crisis Text Hotline also notes in its FAQ section that all text messages are anonymous and free, although charges may apply with carriers other than AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon.

In a June 2015 article published by the Chicago Tribune, Nancy Lublin, the CEO of, explained why she founded the Crisis Text Line:

The text message to a staffer read: "He won't stop raping me. He told me not to tell anyone."

Those words quickly made their way to Nancy Lublin, the CEO of the New York City-based youth empowerment group, which runs do-good campaigns by text, like initiatives for gender-neutral bathrooms and sharing tips to prevent texting while driving.

Lublin's staff had received a few messages — concerns about bullying and the like — unrelated to their campaigns, but "that one message stopped me in my tracks," Lublin said. "It was like being punched in the stomach. The first rule of marketing and sales is: Go where demand is. People want this by text. We should be supplying crisis counseling by text."

That week, Lublin started building Crisis Text Line, a national 24/7 text number — 741741 — available to everyone but mostly used by teens. It went live two years later in 2013 in Chicago and El Paso, Texas. Chicago was chosen because of the influence of an early funder, the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation. El Paso was a data-driven decision based on its large Latino population.

Within four months, the line had been contacted by cellphones from every area code in America. The organization is expected to surpass 7 million messages by July, and Lublin is now in need of more counselors.

About Us

Your best friend. Your dad. That lady down the street. That quiet kid in school. That loud kid in school. That dude in accounting. Your cousin in Alaska. That hipster in the flannel in Brooklyn. That rando who might lurk online. Crisis Text Line is for everyone.

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

Crisis Text Line trains volunteers (like you!) to support people in crisis. With 20,070,473 messages processed to date, we’re growing quickly, but so is the need. Apply to be a crisis counselor now.

Our principles

We fight for the texter. Our first priority is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU = our priority.

We believe data science and technology make us faster and more accurate. See our Founder’s TED talk for more scoop on how we’re using this stuff. While we love data science and technology, we don’t think robots make great Crisis Counselors. Instead, we use this stuff to make us faster and more accurate–but every text is viewed by a human.

We believe in open collaboration. We share our learnings in newsletters, at conferences and on social media. And, we’ve opened our data to help fuel other people’s work.


Q: How does the Crisis Text Line work?

A: You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.

The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

Q: Who should text in?

A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

Q: Who answers the text messages?

A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

Q: What can I expect when I text in?

A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

Q: Is the Crisis Text Line actually anonymous?

A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here

Q: How much does the Crisis Text Line cost?

A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

Q: Will the Crisis Text Line show up on my cell phone bill?

A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

Q: Will the Crisis Text Line work with my phone?

A: The Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

Q: I had a great experience when I texted in. Can I text in again?

A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. The Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

Q: How long do I have to wait to text with a crisis counselor?

A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

Q: Is there a character limit when texting the Crisis Text Line?

A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

Q: Why am I receiving an error message or no response at all?

Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use the Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

Q: Is there any other way to reach the Crisis Text Line besides text?

A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

Q: Is I reach out via Facebook Messenger,does anonymity apply?

A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

Q: Is I reach out via Facebook Messenger, who has access to the data?

A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), the Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

Q: If I reach out via Facebook Messenger and I want my data deleted, what do I do?

A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

Q: If I each out via Facebook Messenger, which terms of service apply to me?

A: By contacting the Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as the Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service

Q: Is Crisis Text Line counseling?

A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

Q: What is active listening?

A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

Q: What's the difference between Crisis Text Line and therapy?

A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

Q: What are all of the crisis issues you track? Can you add more?

A: See the issues we track at If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of

Q: Who can apply for access to the Crisis Text Line's data?

A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. Please visit to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

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