This fall, we’ve been working on a new initiative at Recess.tv—Move For Mental Health, a six-week series celebrating the power of mind-body connection and organizations pushing the fitness industry forward for good.
As we move through the series, we’re chatting with different experts to explore the intersections between mental and physical health and the way movement plays a special role in our lives.
For our first interview in the series, we talk with Crisis Text Line, the not-for-profit providing free crisis counseling via text message.
“Our goal has always been to support people in crisis with the technology that is comfortable to them. Thanks to the hard work of our team and bilingual volunteer Crisis Counselors, we can also serve texters who feel most comfortable getting mental health support in Spanish,” said Dena Trujillo, Crisis Text Line Interim CEO.
Read our interview with Natalia Dayan, the Crisis Text Line Localization Director, below to learn more about the communities they serve—and what we can all do to better support our own mental health.
Recess: Suicide among young Latinas is a major public health concern as they attempt suicide more often than any other group of female teenagers nationwide, according to the CDC. Why do you think this is happening? Is it a lack of services/resources?
Natalia Dayan (ND): It’s heartbreaking that so many young Latinas are attempting to end their lives. We don’t, and can’t know all of the individual reasons for those choices. We do know that there are not enough providers who speak Spanish to support the LatinX community who want mental health care in Spanish.
Recess: How do you think the progressive direction of technology will help reach more communities?
ND: Technology gives people the power to get support without saying a word or showing up somewhere. We hope that by providing crisis counseling via text in SMS and on WhatsApp, we can make it easier for Spanish speakers to get help at any time from anywhere.
Recess: In what ways has the diversity of the staff at Crisis Text Line helped encourage minority communities especially LatinX users to feel more comfortable about seeking help?
ND: Our LatinX/Hispanic staff was instrumental in creating a service that was culturally competent and reflective of the diversity within the Spanish-speaking community. Specifically, our diverse staff collaborated closely to create a volunteer training that anchors in cultural competence and humility.
Recess: What changes do you feel need to happen in order for minority communities to feel safe and supported when being faced with mental illness and/or suicidal thoughts?
ND: We all need to do more to support people of color and people with mental illness. Healing the country will take all of us. At Crisis Text Line, we are training Bilingual English and Spanish speakers to become Crisis Counselors and teaching life-saving skills like suicide risk assessment, active listening, and collaborative problem-solving. Those are skills everyone can learn and use to help their community.
About Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line is a free service powered by a community of volunteer “Crisis Counselors” who help individuals in distress, bringing them from a moment of crisis to a cool calm moment through de-escalation, problem-solving, and active listening skills. Sadly, the suicide rate among young Latinas is a major public health concern as they attempt suicide more often than any other group of female teenagers nationwide, according to the CDC, so these kinds of services are more valuable than ever. “I’m incredibly proud of the culturally competent, first of its kind, service we built to help the Spanish-speaking community in the way they deserve,” said Natalia Dayan, Crisis Text Line Localization Director.
How To Support Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line has been providing free, 24/7, confidential support for people in crisis via text since 2013. Volunteer Crisis Counselors complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time Crisis Text Line mental health professionals. Text HOLA to 741741 or text to 442-AYUDAME in WhatsApp to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor in Spanish. Text CRISIS to 741741 for English. Crisis Text Line currently offers its service in the USA, UK, Canada, and Ireland. Learn more at www.crisistextline.org.