What Happens When I Chat 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 1-800-273-8255.
3. A counselor will answer your chat.
4. This person will listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful.
Who should use the Lifeline Chat Program?
Anyone who is depressed, going through a hard time, needs to talk, or is thinking about suicide can use the chat. The chat counselors are here to listen and support you through whatever difficult times you may be facing.
What should I expect during a Lifeline Chat session?
Our goal is to help you reduce stress and feel empowered to make healthy decisions. You will be asked questions regarding your safety, feelings, social situation, and if you have any thoughts of suicide. If a chat counselor feels you are in danger they will speak with you about accessing emergency services, and/or gather additional contact information to ensure your safety. The chat counselor will work with you to create a safety plan if necessary.
When is Lifeline Chat available?
The Lifeline Chat service is available 24/7. If all chat counselors are busy assisting other visitors, you will be asked to try the chat again in a half hour. If you have trouble connecting to the chat service we encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Are all Lifeline Chat communications secure and confidential?
The confidentiality and security of chats are ensured through the Lifeline chat software provider, which uses the same encryption and data protection standards required by major financial institutions to transact business with each other. All of your communications are securely encrypted from your computer to ours.
Is the Lifeline Facebook Chat confidential?
If a user is reported to Facebook for posting suicidal content, the content is reviewed by the Facebook Safety Team. If appropriate, Facebook will respond directly to the user via e-mail indicating that someone on Facebook is concerned about their safety and encourage the user to call the Lifeline and/or enter a confidential chat session with a crisis counselor. If the user chooses to enter chat, he or she will be redirected to a site hosted by the Lifeline. Security controls, including encryption and authentication, are in place to ensure the protection of any information submitted via chat. Additionally, the user who is given the opportunity to chat does not have to disclose any identifying information.
How do I access the Chat?
The Lifeline Crisis Chat service is available within the United States and territories 24/7. If all chat specialists are busy assisting other visitors you will be asked to try the chat again in a half hour. If the chat service is not open we encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
What do I do if the Chat is busy or nobody answers?
If the service appears 'offline' or 'busy', please call Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – we are available 24/7. If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate medical attention, please call 911.
What is CONTACT USA?
CONTACT USA has been offering help to those in need through online chat since 2010. Crisis Chat has been a nationwide project that aims to improve access to mental health care. Crisis Chat has linked existing certified crisis call centers around the United States on one website platform, creating a service that will eventually route website visitors to the crisis center that serves their local area. Crisis Chat has also provided essential emotional support and crisis intervention services to millions of people who are depressed, despairing or thinking about suicide.
I clicked on "Terms & Conditions", but nothing happened.
Troubleshooting Steps: This may happen because the Visitor’s browser is not up to date or because their Java Script is not enabled. They can check whether or not their browser is updated by doing to whatismybrowser.com and that page will inform them of their browser status and recommend what to do moving forward.
I have a valid US zipcode, but nothing happened.
Troubleshooting steps: Occasionally this error occurs and if it does, visitors can try to enter another zip code nearby and/or e-mail the Lifeline by using the Contact Us Page(http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/About/Contact/) and under 'Type of Question' choose 'Technical Concerns' for further assistance. Please be aware that this email is not a crisis email and is only available 9am - 5pm Monday thru Friday.
Why did I go backwards in the queue?
Troubleshooting Steps: Lifeline is implementing a new routing system to prevent this from happening. Until that is in place, this situation can be prevented in most cases by not refreshing the page.
I've been waiting a long time...
Troubleshooting Steps: Since about 20,000 people visit our chat page per month, our demand is quite high and there is a possibility that you will wait in a queue. As stated earlier, our busiest time are 10pm EST – 2am EST so you are most likely to be in a queue during these times. We try very hard to answer every chat that comes through, without sacrificing the quality of the current visitors we serve. If you need immediate help when you are placed in our queue, please call our hotline 800-273-8255 or go to your nearest emergency room.