“I like texting, it’s a discrete way that no one knows that I’m doing” – Texter
Text Line Counseling for suicide prevention
Welcome! Thank you for being interested in learning about Crisis Support Services’ Text Line Volunteer Program. Helping others through text is one of the newest forms of suicide prevention and crisis intervention. Text Line Counselors become adept at helping people through this new medium on the cutting edge.
“Im glad that you’re there to listen” – Texter
In addition to the Crisis Line Program, CSS launched a Text Line Program in 2011 in order to reach more youth and young adults and provide free text counseling to people in Alameda County who choose not to call. The Text Line Program operates from 4pm – 11pm 7 days a week. The Text Line Program engages in 500-700 text sessions a year with youth and young adults. Those who reach out for support through our Text Line Program typically range in age anywhere from middle school age, up to college age. During the sessions, texters will open up about feelings of stress, loneliness, depression, family conflict, suicide, and more. A Text Line Counselor might be the first person to help a texter sort out their feelings.
Below is a brief description of the Text Line Program’s training and commitment (for more detailed information please read the Text Line Volunteer application).
Why Volunteer with Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (CSS)?
There are many reasons people volunteer at Crisis Support Services. Many people come because they want to do something meaningful in their spare time and give back to the community. What connects us together at Crisis Support Services is our commitment to our life-saving missing and values, when showing up to answer the call or text. Specifically for the Text Line Program, volunteers are interested in giving support via texting to teens and young adults. (The majority of calls in the Crisis Line Program are with adults.)
“You’ve been a big part of my life for the couple hours I’ve known you” – Texter
Text Line Counselors
Text Line Counselors are naturally empathetic, dedicated, and interested in growing as a counselor. In addition, the kind of person suited for being a Text Line Counselor is comfortable communicating through written word and has interest in – and a respect for – young people. Text Line Counselors interact with texters who may be reaching out for support for the first time. Others regularly text us as they seek a touch stone to help stay stable. In addition, counselors also provide crucial intervention services for people in crisis at the time of their greatest need.
Text Line Counselors gain unique insight and experience in the mental health field while working collaboratively with a supportive team. By providing non-judgmental, person-centered counseling, Text Line Counselors support those in crisis and help reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide. No experience necessary as training is provided.
Training flow and time commitment
During training, Text Line volunteers attend several weekends and/or evenings of classroom training, attend training shifts in small groups, and one on one with a trainer. After graduating the training program we ask for a commitment of one 4 to 7 hour weekly shift sometime between 4:00pm and 11:00 pm for a year, with a minimum of 52 shifts. Of course, we love volunteers to stay longer than one year if they like!
“Thanks for everything it really helped :)” – Texter
More Details and How to Apply
For more information about the Text Line Volunteer position, please read the introduction on the application. If you are interested in applying for the Text Line Volunteer position you can submit the application via the online application form or download and return the completed application via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.