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What is Crisis Text Line with Jen James

Crisis Text Line

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and before the end of the month, I wanted to share Crisis Text Line. During the Summer, I had the honor to interview Jen James, the creator of the volunteer curriculum and trainer of the original supervision team of Crisis Text Line.

Crisis Text Line was developed as part of DoSomething.Org when one of the workers, Stephanie Shih received a text that read “He won’t stop raping me” “it’s my Dad.”  Shih showed the message correspondence to her boss Nancy Lublin. Over the next two years, these women would develop what is now known as Crisis Text Line, the only 24/7 crisis-intervention hotline conducted via text message. Lublin recognized the high volume of people who were using text messaging as their primary mode of communication.

Crisis Text Line
Image courtesy of Abbie Bernet

James’ role was to create a remote training program for volunteers all over the world. The requirements:

  1. A social security number for a background check
  2. 18 and over
  3. A good heart “We are not there to teach you to be kind, you should be kind. We don’t want dicks” -Jen James

Launched in March of 2014 with 20 people, today Crisis Text Line has over 4,000 volunteers and anyone can text “Hello” to 741741 if they are in crisis.

Crisis Text Line
Image courtesy of Marjan Grabowski

Jen’s Story

Jen has lived and personal experience dealing with crisis. Twenty-two years ago when Jen tried to take her life, there weren’t the resources available like there are today. Additionally, people did not talk about their problems, they were “swept under the rug.” Since then, Jen graduated as a film maker and continues to be both passionate and creative. She recognized her desire to help others who are faced with that moment of crisis. You can learn more about Jen here. 

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

You will learn the skills to help anyone with any issue they are facing. You do not need to be an expert in eating disorders, be Social Worker or Psychologist to volunteer. The conversation and the training which you go through will cover the issues which Crisis Text Line deals with.

The volunteers are not there to judge a crisis, because every crisis is different. They want to be there for anyone during their time of crisis.

Go to their website: click here which will bring you to their volunteer page. You complete a 34 hour training and once that is completed, dedicate 4 hours a week to helping others. In Jen’s words

“It’s such a wonderful way of giving back to the world, you don’t need a cape to save a life.”

Watch the video below to learn more



H and H

Women’s Equality Day: My Interview With Yasmeen Hassan

Today is Women’s Equality Day, and what better way to bring awareness than by sharing this interview with Equality Now’s Global Executive Director, Yasmeen Hassan.

Global Executive Director of Equality Now: Yasmeen Hassan

I had the honor to meet this inspirational woman at Blogher this past summer. It was there that she educated me on Equality Now, a human rights organization focused on the rights of women and girls worldwide. Founded 25 year ago, since the human rights community did not believe women’s rights qualify as human rights instead being labeled at “culture”.

Equality Now aimed to change that paradigm, starting to work with sexual assaults as a weapon of war. Initially seen as an unfortunate consequence of war, not as a strategy. They continued to work on female genital mutilation which was seen as a cultural practice, but now is a human right’s violation.

Women's Equality
Image courtesy of Ron Hansen

Today, they are work on sex trafficking and tourism, child marriage, honor crimes and everything that affects women around the world. Working with foreign governments, Equality Now creates law that not only protect women, but  provides them with rights.

Although it may seem that the United States is leading the charge for Women’s Equality, according to World Economic Forum, the United States is ranked 45 out of 144 countries. Startled by this fact, I asked Hassan what she suggests both men and women in this country do to raise our ranking. Her response, “We still have yet to have a women president, there is an under representation of women in congress, corporate boards and we are a very sexist society.” She points out that we are dealing with sexual assaults in both the military, college campuses, high school and the way that our legal system deals with it is something that women should not be proud of.

Image courtesy of Alexa Mazzarello

It is important for women, not only today, but everyday to continue to advocate for both women’s right and equality all over the world. We must use our voices for those who cannot.

Haute and Holistic is proud that our first Shero is Yasmeen Hassan, who advocates for women around the world. Thank you for this interview. Please watch below:


Women's Equality

If you would like to donate to Equality Now, please click here. 


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