"This activity provides me with the chance to reach the younger audience and connect with them in a compassionate, caring way." - Rainy, Crisis Text Line Volunteer

Rainy Roth
Crisis Text Line
Troy, MT

 

I am very proud to be a volunteer Crisis Counselor with Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 crisis line, all via text message. Since most of the texters who reach out to us are under the age of 25, this activity provides me with the chance to reach the younger audience and connect with them in a compassionate, caring way. I am also the Children’s Ministry leader within my church. Surprisingly, the two seem to intertwine, as I love being around children and helping them be the best they can possibly be.

This is also an incredible volunteer activity I could do from my tiny town (pop. 943) in Montana. The work is all done from my computer. Crisis counselors graduate from a six-week, 34-hour training program that includes video modules covering good contact techniques and issues such as self-harm, suicide, depression, bullying, and gender/sexual identity. I felt fully prepared before I began

As a child, for as long as I remember, I suffered in silence with anxiety/panic disorder. Back in the ‘60s, doctors didn’t have a term for what I was going through. My parents didn’t understand it and looked at it as a discipline problem. Thankfully, as we progressed in understanding mental health issues, anxiety was brought to light. My feelings are, if I can reach out to one texter and tell them, “I get it” then they will understand that they will be okay. Because of the training I received, I can give them the tools they need to get some help.

My favorite thing about being a crisis counselor, oddly enough, is the active rescues – when people express ideation or plans within the next 24 hours to hurt themselves or someone else, and we send emergency services to do a safety check. The moment a texter tells me, “they’re here” – that’s when I realize I helped someone get the help he or she needs. For me, it’s not only about saving lives; it’s also about letting these individuals know that people care.

There is a phrase I tell my texters all the time: “You matter.” It is surprising that so many texters respond with, “Wow, I have never heard that before!” Those two words assure my texters that they are going to be okay and they are meant to be in this world. All the pain and anxiety . . . the negative thoughts . . . they don’t matter, because you do.

When they open up to me and let me know that they really are listening to my words, it brings me a comforting feeling. I think in a way, it is also healing to the little girl in me who struggled with unknown fear and anxiety for so many years. Being able to identify a piece of myself within a texter’s words, helps me to help them see that these feelings have a name and they don’t always have to feel this way.

I think I am a much better and healthier person since becoming a Crisis Counselor. The training and my compassion have finally merged and I am able to let someone know that, in the end, it is all going to be okay.

 

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