Yess…you read it right! One of the first things I did when I decided to quit my job and move was to think about how “productive” I could be. Because quitting equaled uncertainty. I was moving to a new state, new home etc etc..all exciting yet the last thing I wanted was to regret or feel bored. So around the same time as I was planning my move I came across this opportunity to be a Crisis Counselor ..what does that mean? I help people facing/feeling crisis over text.
Crisis Text Line is an amaazzzinnngg non-profit in United States that helps people get from a hot moment to a cool moment when they are in crisis. All they have to do is text START to 74141 and a trained Crisis Counselor (like me) will help them get through it. What does crisis mean? It could range from someone just having a bad day and not having anyone to talk to- to someone feeling suicidal.
How do you become a CC? You have to fill an application with a couple of references and once you are selected you go through a six -week training. After your training, you get into the platform and you always have someone trained (supervisor) who has your back. The commitment is for 4 hr/week for one year.
I could go into anxiety, depression mental health etc. But I choose to not go there but say this. We don’t HAVE to be diagnosed with anything to seek help. Many times unexpected escalations happen because of a very simple reason- lack of support or lack of an ear to listen or voice that provides validation or a way to find support. That teenager who committed suicide because of low scores because he/she didn’t have anyone to talk to. Maybe if they had known about CTL and texted, maybe..maybe they would have changed their mind or someone would have made sure they are found before it was too late. A simple talk when you are feeling anxious can stop (maybe) this escalation of emotions and lead to a state when it is too late.
I should say it has been a very intense and satisfying experience for me. The fact that we can help someone and provide them a completely non-judgemental space to discuss anything they are going through is a life-changing experience. It also helps me understand the culture of the society I live in much better.
There is no equivalent when you see “Thank you I feel better now” or “You stopped me from killing myself today”. I can feel selfish and say I am accumulating good karma I guess.
But yes, truly those four hours per week make ME feel productive and gives meaning to MY life!
Feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to know more about becoming a CC.