BUFFALO, N.Y. — Crisis Services is launching new text and chat options on Wednesday, Aug. 25 to help people connect with someone who can help them. These options aren't available yet, so we don't have the number to give out yet.
It will be a number you can text Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and there will be a chatbox on the website to give people two new options in addition to the 24/7 hotline.
You will be connected with a hotline counselor via direct messaging, and it's free and confidential.
Crisis Services is able to do this because of a grant. 2 On Your Side talked with the Program Director for Crisis Services 24-hour Suicide Prevention and Addictions Hotline, Rachel Morrison about how it will work.
"They will immediately get a response that says, hi welcome to our text program. At Crisis Services there is a script that they will get and it will ask them to put in their information, or if it's an anonymous call. So, someone who is texting in, they would be able to put their name, their information, or not, they can say, you know, anonymously. And then they will see something else pop up on their screen to say please hold while we get one of our crisis counseling specialists," Morrison said.
The 24/7 Crisis Services hotline is not going away, and you can call it any time if you need help. That number is (716) 834-3131.
Morrison says they are calling it their digital companion. It is a more discreet way of getting the same services you'd get by calling the hotline.
"Sometimes folks are maybe in a situation where they can't use the phone or they would not like to use the phone. It's just a little but more comfortable to not, to be able to reach some services and get the services that you need without having to call on the line. We do our offline, too, and we at any moment feel that if anyone is in any danger to themselves or someone else, that we can immediately stop the text and guide that person to an actual phone call where we do not want to replace the essence of being on the line with a live person with this chat," Morrison said.
Again, that 24/7 hotline option is not going away. That number is (716) 834-3131. The text and chat options will also prompt someone to call 911 if there is an emergency.