As much as we might love our friends, we’re not always equipped to help them in their times of need, especially if they’re experiencing a crisis such as domestic violence, sexual assault or extreme emotional distress. Here is a list of handy online resources that connect people to free, qualified support immediately, via a helpline, online chat or text messaging. Please share these resources with your loved ones.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1-800-273-TALK or suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Trained counselors help those who feel they are in crisis, even people who might not necessarily be thinking of suicide. This includes those dealing with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illnesses and loneliness
National Sexual Assault Hotline — 800-656-HOPE or rainn.org
This resource operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provides free 24/7 confidential, one-on-one crisis support to anyone impacted by sexual assault, including survivors and loved ones. They can provide a safe place to talk about what happened and connect you with resources in your local area.
Boys Town National Hotline — 1-800-448-3000 or boystown.org/hotline
Boys Town helps at-risk children, teens and families who are at the brink of disaster. Their 24/7 hotline is staffed by trained counselors, including some that are Spanish-speaking. They also offer translation services and options for the hearing-impaired.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1-800-799-SAFE or thehotline.org
Trained advocates are available 24/7 via phone or chat to help those experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
The Trevor Project — 866-488-7386 or thetrevorproject.org
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Veterans Crisis Line — 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or veteranscrisisline.net
This confidential resource connects veterans and their loved ones with responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This resource is designed to help veterans experiencing emotional distress. Veterans and their family and friends are encouraged to call anytime, even before reaching a crisis point, so that they can get the specialized help they need.
Crisis Text Line — Text START to 741741, or crisistextline.org
Trained crisis counselors and volunteers help those in hot moments experience more calm through active listening and suggesting referrals. Texts are confidential and free for major carriers but standard SMS rates might apply for others.
Disaster Distress Helpline — 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 or facebook.com/distresshelpline
This U.S. government-sponsored resource is available to those experiencing distress related to natural or manmade disasters, including flooding, severe storms, mass violence, community unrest, disease outbreaks and more.
SPEAK UP — 1-866-SPEAK-UP or speakup.com
This resource allows students to anonymously report a weapon threat at their school or in their community. It has received nearly 40,000 calls since launching in 2002.
Crisis can affect anyone, including women and men of color, and it’s important to fight the stigma that prevents many in our communities from seeking help when needed. Talk openly about self-care with friends and be open about the fact that you support those who utilize formal resources designed to help people overcome challenges. This might make friends more likely to reach out to you if they ever find themselves in crisis. Resources like the ones above are just a Google search away, but sometimes it takes the support of a nonjudgmental, supportive friend to encourage someone to put them to use.
Are there other online resources you consider useful in crisis? Please share them in the comments below!