Here’s How Crisis Text Line Responds to Financial Stress


As we know, money can be a significant factor of stress and anxiety in many of our lives, making it difficult to feel healthy, wholesome, and in control. I chatted with Ricky Neal, Marketing Manager and Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Crisis Text Line, to better understand how finances can cause feelings of crisis, the people most affected, and the tools available for support.

Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Over the past 4.5 years, they’ve processed over 63 million messages and trained over 12,000 volunteer crisis counselors. Right now, 4,000 of them are actively helping thousands of people every day.

According to their data, money is a significant factor in the number of texts they receive with users feeling anxiety or stress, and in these cases, the person on the other line is twice as likely to be started by a person of color. In fact, over 85% of financial stress conversations are held by women of color. Concerns about money are also concentrated in southern states, with Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as the most frequently listed places for these conversations to start.

The volunteer respondents are prepped to respond to these feelings of anxiety and stress. Their first goal is to de-escalate, and bring the user from a “hot moment” to a “cool moment”. They recommend tools for relaxation, including meditation and mindfulness, deep, slow breathing, journaling, and coloring. They also recommend finding someone to talk about these difficult emotions, to help make the situation feel more familiar, and less like the elephant in the room.

Ricky emphasizes that the role of social media in our lives plays a major part in the stresses we experience each day, particularly around money. “We live in a world where we’re always showing off,” he notes, and this judgment and comparison “makes us feel inadequate”. It’s up to us to build our own relationship to our finances, and prioritize what we care about spending on most.

As we continue to share stories, resources and news about financial wellness that can bring up difficult emotions in our readers, we will continue to encourage all readers to reach out Crisis Text Line for support and community as you explore your relationship to your finances.

Text 741741 anytime to be connected to a Crisis Counselor.

Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash