I wish I could say I've never been seriously suicidal, but it's not true. Twice friends helped me out. Twice I reached out for help to services that were not helpful (university services and later a suicide hotline). Somehow I pulled myself out, and eventually, with professional help, I figured out that I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. I'm lucky it's treatable and I found a solution. Many people aren't as lucky.
So when I was researching my book on digital life, I heard about Crisis Text Line, a new service that supports anyone anywhere who is in a crisis -- any kind of crisis. I knew I had to support their work because they fill a gap desperately needed. I'm proud to be serving on their Bay Area Advisory Board, helping to spread the word about the important work they do locally and nationally. This week, they're launching officially in the San Francisco Bay Area with a campaign called #BAYbrave, where locals can share their personal stories in an effort to de-stigmatize how we talk about mental health issues.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Crisis Text Line has already collected 13,000 crisis messages this year. Their volunteers have responded to those calls and they have been able to help numerous young people in need. But in order to reach more people, we need to recruit more volunteers to be trained to help. The holidays are a particularly difficult time for many, and this service can help.
The Crisis Text Line has now partnered with the Golden Gate Bridge, a place where sadly way too many suicides take place each year. Crisis Text Line now has signs with their number posted so people in need can reach out before it's too late. Other partners include Caltrain, the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Giants, Peet's Coffee, Facebook, YouTube, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, After School, Children's Health Council and Adolescent Counseling Services. Crisis Text Line is eager to partner with more key local organizations in the future.
Tell your friends - 741-741 is the number to text if they're in a crisis. You may save a life. See also: crisistextline.org.