Lifeline Chat and Text
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Ready to Chat?
What Happens When I Chat or Text with the Lifeline?
1. First, you’ll see a wait-time message while we connect you to a crisis counselor.
2. If demand is high, you can always look at our “Helpful Resources” below, or call the Lifeline at 988.
3. A counselor will answer your chat or text.
4. This person will listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful.
If you’re having trouble accessing Chat and the troubleshooting tips below don’t resolve the issue, Crisis Counselors are available to support you by phone at 988. You can also Contact Us to share the technical trouble you’re experiencing so we can get things fixed.
LGBTQ+ people under 25 can access LGBTQ+ support on both 988 Crisis Chat or Text from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. Eastern, daily. You’ll be asked if you want to opt-in to this support before you’re connected to a crisis counselor.
Chat and Text FAQ
Who should use the Lifeline Chat and Text Service?
Anyone who is depressed, going through a hard time, needs to talk, or is thinking about suicide can use the service. The crisis counselors are here to listen and support you through whatever difficult times you may be facing.
When is Lifeline Chat and Text available?
The Lifeline Chat and Text service is available 24/7. If you have trouble connecting to the service we encourage you to call the Lifeline at 988.
How do I start a text with 988?
You can send any message to 988 to start a text conversation with us.
Are all Lifeline Chat and Text communications secure and confidential?
The confidentiality and security of transcripts and any data collected during chats and texts are ensured through the Lifeline chat and text software provider, which uses the same encryption and data protection standards required by major financial institutions to transact business with each other.
How do I close a conversation if I need to stop talking?
If you need to leave a conversation without saying goodbye to your crisis counselor, you can do so. For Chat, you can click “End conversation” at any time to close the conversation. For Text, you can send STOP and your crisis counselor will close the conversation without sending any future messages – though you will immediately receive a single automated message offering an opportunity to complete a post-conversation survey. (Note: For Text, many phone carriers will require you to send UNSTOP if you ever want to start texting with us again.)
What do I do if nobody answers?
If the service appears offline or busy, please call the Lifeline at 988 – we are available 24/7. If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate medical attention, please call 911.
What are the American Association of Suicidology and the International Council for Helplines?
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is a world leader in the development, implementation, and facilitation of accreditation, certification, and training programs. Their programs are evidenced-based and best practices to uphold standards of care for those impacted by suicide. They provide accreditation, certification, and training opportunities for organizations and individuals.
The International Council for Helplines (ICH) offers accreditation to all chat and/or text crisis helpline programs to ensure high-quality standards and ethical practice. International Council for Helplines accreditation standards define and establish best practices for crisis chat and texting services. The Standards focus on areas outlined below in order for programs to have the infrastructure in place to provide compassionate and non-judgmental services to those in need of emotional support.
What is the purpose of the pre-conversation survey?
Knowing a bit about you, what you’re going through, and how you’re feeling right now can help your crisis counselor better support you as soon as your conversation starts.
The chat window isn't working for me and the other troubleshooting tips didn't fix the problem.
We’re so sorry that the site isn’t working for you. Crisis Counselors are available to support you by phone at 988. You can also Contact Us to share the technical trouble you’re experiencing so we can get things fixed.
I submitted my survey, but nothing happened.
I've been waiting a long time.
We’re sorry that you’ve been waiting. To speak to a crisis counselor now, please call the Lifeline at 988. If you believe the site is experiencing technical issues, please let us know on our Contact Us page.