Why are all the operators busy sometimes?
It is our goal to increase our capacity such that all visitors can chat with a specialist immediately. We are always working to add more crisis centers to our network so we can have more chat specialists available.
CONTACT USA (founder of CrisisChat.org) has partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create a larger network of crisis centers to answer your chats. Some of those centers, due to funding limitations, can only take chats from within their own state. Every month, the number of visitors we get increases by a couple hundred. In November of 2012, 3,503 chats were initiated through this website. Our participating centers were not able to answer them all. It costs local crisis centers money to provide the staff or train the volunteers to answer chats. If you'd like to contribute to the solution, make a donation or pin about us on Pinterest to ask others for donations.
We have far more users than we have donors. As mentioned above, 3,503 chats were initiated in the month of November. In contrast, in that same month, we were supported by only a few donations. If you donate, you are part of small group making a big difference!
Even very small donations help, because our organization is very small. 95% of the work, including answering chats, is provided by local crisis centers who donate their time and staff. One goal we have is to be able to help those local crisis centers offset the cost of providing these services by paying for their software or training their chat specialists.
Does Lifeline Crisis Chat choose some visitors over others?
No. If you visit Lifeline Crisis Chat and we are not able to answer your chat, it is strictly because all of our specialists are busy chatting with other visitors.
Does it help to leave and log back in?
Yes, now it does. We no longer have a line of people waiting. Now, if there is a specialist available, your chat is answered immediately. If you are told that all operators are busy, wait 15-30 minutes and try again.
What can people do to help?
We're so glad you asked!
Donations help us make upgrades to the software and recruit and train new crisis centers - both of which increase our capacity and allow us to answer more chats and deliver faster service.
If you live near a crisis center, you can volunteer there.
Even if your nearest crisis center is not part of the Lifeline Crisis Chat network, you can help by telling them about it.
Spread the word! We have started a Pinterest campaign to try to get donations and a Twitter campaign to try to infrom crisis centers, mental health professionals, and lawmakers about our service. (We aren't currently trying to advertise to people who need help only because we are getting such overwhelmingly high demand already.) You can help by following us on Twitter or Pinterest and retweeting or repinning our posts. E-mail your friends and family the link to our donations page.
Do a small local fundraiser for us. If you or a group do a creative fundraiser, we'll write about it on our website. Verizon and Johnson & Johnson also provide financial support for CrisisChat.org - you can write to them to let them know you appreciate their support of this service.
What can visitors do while they wait (or instead of waiting)?
We encourage people in need to call 1-800-273-TALK. We also understand that many visitors come to chat specifically because they are not comfortable talking on the phone. If that is the case with you, please visit our resources page. There are many sources for online information, message boards, and even other chat services listed there.