Helena, Mont. – Montana Governor Steve Bullock is introducing a new crisis service prevention tool available now to help Montanans.
The Crisis Text Line offers 24/7 access to crisis counselors through a familiar format that is especially appealing to youth: text message. To access this service, Montanans who prefer to communicate via text message can text ‘mt’ to the number 741-741 and a Crisis Counselor will respond immediately to provide assistance.
The free service is available 24/7 with crisis counselors on the other end ready to help.
“The safety of our kids is always priority one,” said Governor Bullock. “This new tool is an easy way for our youth and all Montanans who are in crisis to receive help easily, and quickly.”
Montana has struggled with high suicide rates for generations. Over the past ten years suicide has been the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-14, adolescents ages 15-24 and adults ages 25-44. In 2014, Montana had the highest number of suicide deaths per capita in the United States, with 251 deaths and a rate of 24.5 per 100,000 population.
“To address this ongoing crisis for our youth, mental health providers, local communities, and the state are going to have to continue to work together on a wide variety of solutions. This new text line adds one more important tool,” Bullock said.
The service emerged from the work of dosomething.org, a youth social change organization with millions of registered members.
"The combination of crisis text lines and youth crisis services are strong steps forward in caring for Montana's youth who experience a mental health crisis,” said Matt Kuntz, Executive Director NAMI Montana.
According to a recent New York Times article, since the Crisis Text Line first launched, crisis counselors have exchanged over 16.5 million of messages with individuals in distress. The article also points to data that only 2 percent of high school students use telephone crisis hotlines.
A live text message counter is kept online at http://www.crisistextline.org/trends/
Data already collected through the millions of text messages from across the U.S., show that 30 percent of the text conversations are about depression and suicide. “That is what drew me to this service,” Karl Rosston, Montana’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “The new text line will complement the already existing Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is also available 24/7 for people in crisis to call at 1-800-273-TALK.”
Crisis Text Line is a not-for-profit national organization that offers this free service and is funded by foundations and individuals.