A statewide partnership with the national Crisis Text Line has resulted in 243 "active rescues" of Ohioans in danger of harming themselves or others, state and local mental health officials said this week (Source: “Crisis texting hotline has been successful in Ohio, officials say,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 11, 2017).
The Crisis Text Line pairs people in stressful situations with trained crisis counselors via text message. In Ohio, people can text "4HOPE" to 741741 and will receive a response within 5 minutes. Texts that mention suicide or other keywords are bumped ahead in the queue.
Counselors have fielded 33,000 messages from Ohio in the past three years, mostly from people younger than age 25. Crisis Text Line, a privately funded nonprofit, offers its service for free nationwide. It collects aggregated data, without personally identifiable information, to find general trends from people seeking help. In Ohio, the top three text subjects are depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors and stress. Lublin said bullying, friend issues and physical abuse are more prevalent in Ohio than other states.
The Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Board piloted the service in 2014 through a state grant. State officials began working with Crisis Text Line in September and has since launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the free service. "This is something where people took a step and it was able to be brought to a greater scale," Tracy Plouck, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said.