One Text at a Time

1 Feb

Texting often gets a bad name – it’s impersonal or distracting. It occupies some young people’s time way too much.

With all of that bad rap, have you ever thought that texting could be life-saving?

That was the vision of Nancy Lubin, the CEO and founder of, which runs campaigns via text like collecting “jeans for teens” who are without a home or bringing dogs to campus so students can de-stress during exams.

When young people sign up to help with a project, they sometimes communicate, not about jeans or dogs, but about something totally unrelated … like addiction, being bullied, suicidal thoughts.

One day, when Linda read a particularly disturbing text, which ended with “Are you there?” And she was motivated to “do something.” Linda started “Crisis Text Line.”

It’s exactly what the name implies – a crisis line, not on the phone, but via text – the way young people communicate.

In four months, it was in every single area code on the country. By texting a message to 741-741 anywhere at any time, anyone in crisis can reach a live, trained crisis counselor.

Texting is so personal. The sender doesn’t even have to say the words out loud, but the message is coming across loud and clear.

An amazingly sad 30% of texts are about suicide and depression.

What’s amazingly positive, is that Crisis Text Line has taken the raw data, without identifiers, and turned it into a data bank of robust and helpful data that is freely shared on

So, I looked up Nevada and found that our state is 9th highest for substance abuse and 11th highest for physical abuse. Frightening.

I encourage all of you to listen to the 9 minute Ted Talk. You will be impacted and grateful to Nancy for helping “one text at a time.”





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