MIAMI COUNTY — Recognizing today’s youth preference for text messaging, the state of Ohio unveiled a free, confidential way for people to connect to crisis intervention counselors through text messages last month.
To access the Crisis Text Line, people text the keyword “4hope” to “741741”, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk with a counselor. It is solely a text and not a voice conversation.
Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services director of community resource development Brad Reed, the organization has been promoting the text messaging service in addition to its 24-hour, seven days a week crisis hotline.
“The state of Ohio has adopted as a state a crisis text line 741741,” Reed said. “We are finding the young people, the millennials, won’t make a phone call, but they’ll send a text.”
Tri-County’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline logged 10,428 in 2016 between Miami, Shelby, and Darke counties.
The text messages are sent to a national database. The state adopted the crisis text message service a few weeks ago, but the organization has been promoting it for the last six months.
Reed said the text message service seems to resonate with teens who may feel more comfortable voicing their crisis via text than picking up the phone.
“When we did the Piqua/Troy rivalry game last year, they focused on suicide prevention and we put the text number on all of the materials,” Reed shared. “If you are a high school kid and you are at school having a mental health crisis, you can go in to the restroom, but you aren’t going to make a call because someone may hear it, but you could send a text.”
The crisis text message service is logged by a national database, but users can insert hashtags to note where they are texting from. For example, if one was to text from a university, they would use #OSU for Ohio State University.
“The text conversations are confidential themselves,” Reed said.
The system will connect people day or night with counselors via text message. Those trained crisis counselors will be available to discuss and give information about issues like depression, suicide, bullying, and more.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews