New Text Messaging Service Offers Round-the-Clock Access to Mental Health Crisis Support

New Text Messaging Service Offers Round-the-Clock Access to Mental Health Crisis Support

Source: Press Release from Department of Mental Health
Dr. J Batra, Medical Director
Jaskanwar.Batra@vermont.gov
Melissa Bailey, Deputy Commissioner
Melissa.Bailey@vermont.gov

Vermonters who are experiencing a mental health crisis now have a new way to find support when and where they need it, 24 hours a day.

Crisis Text Line™ provides free*, round-the-clock support, seven days a week by providing access via text messaging to trained Crisis Counselors at the moment help and support are needed.

This service is being provided through a partnership between the Vermont Department of Mental Health and the national organization Crisis Text Line. State officials welcomed this key addition to the other mental health services available for Vermonters to access when circumstances or events become difficult to handle.

“Our mission is to ensure Vermonters have access to effective and meaningful mental health support services,” said Dr. J Batra, Medical Director at the Vermont Department of Mental Health. “Crisis Text Line will help make a difference for people to get support in the moment, especially for those individuals who may feel more comfortable sharing difficult thoughts and feelings through text messaging. This is an important complement and gateway to the state’s mental health services, such as face-to-face crisis response at Vermont’s community mental health centers.”

How Crisis Text Line™ works:
• The person in crisis or needing support sends a text with the letters “VT” to 741741
• Within 5 minutes the person in crisis or needing support will get an automated text and then a response from a trained Crisis Counselor through a secure platform
• The counselor will stay in text communication until the crisis is abated and there is a plan for next steps
• If there is immediate danger, the counselor can work with local resources to get supports to the person in crisis
• The counselors are not therapists, but they are trained to help with active listening that is empathetic, understanding and respectful

Some of the features of the Vermont Crisis Text Line:
• No-cost, 24/7 access to trained Crisis Counselors with clinical supervision
• Five-minute response time
• Crisis Text Line is a secure service. No private information is shared, and will not show up on cell phone bill*

“We’re excited at the promise of this tool to help people when they are feeling overwhelmed,” said Dr. Batra. “We look forward to incorporating it into our ongoing efforts to support and help everyone who needs support or assistance.”

To learn more about Crisis Text Line and the services they provide, visit WWW.CRISISTEXTLINE.ORG

For mental health information, services and resources in Vermont, visit mentalhealth.vermont.gov.
*for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile carriers; all others carriers may charge rates.

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