For individuals who may be contemplating suicide, help is now a text away.
The Crisis Text Line (CTL) has partnered with Caltrain and other Bay Area companies and organizations to post signs and other messages encouraging anyone in crisis to reach out via text message.
By texting the word “BAY” to 741741, teens or anyone in need of help can instantly start communicating with a trained Crisis Text Line volunteer counselor.
“[Text] is really accessible, it’s more private, people can do it in their room and not worry about their mom hearing on the other side,” said Libby Craig, Bay Area director of Crisis Text Line. “We see a spike in texts every day during lunch time.”
Crisis volunteers are trained to help individuals talk through their pain and find ways to heal. For those who are at risk of suicide, crisis counselors can trigger an “active rescue” which informs emergency services local to the person in need. CTL activates ten active rescues nationally per day.
CTL and Caltrain partnered with the City of Palo Alto Wednesday afternoon to announce the launch of the service.
Palo Alto has suffered the loss of over ten teenage lives due to suicide in recent years.
Sarah Longyear, a Gunn High School graduate and Washington in St. Louis student, was on medical leave from school and suffering from mental illness when she took her life in April.
Her mother, Sally Longyear, says Sarah had a smile that could light up a room. But inside, she was suffering. She believes CTL could have helped her daughter if she had known about the service.
“Sarah was texting in the early hours before, on April 22 when she died, with another friend multiple times as she was preparing to die,” said Sally. “If she had known about crisis text line then she could have reached out.”
CTL is a national organization which receives 50,000 text messages per month. The organization has recently grown in the Bay Area over the last three months.
Anyone in need of help can begin texting right away.