Nancy Lublin leads a non-profit called Crisis Text Line. They offer text message-based crisis services for people in need. With an army of trained volunteers, they stand (or, more likely, sit with laptops) at the ready to engage with people who just need someone to talk to via text message.
While most of their efforts at the beginning were directed at teens and young adults, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a massive upswing in people texting in for support from all age groups. As a tech-savvy company, one thing they can offer is a pulse on what Americans across age groups are stressed and talking about at any point in time. The recent increase in usage adds some interesting dimensions we can use, both to understand ourselves and peers, and to better understand what those we serve may be going through.
As of April 2020, the data says people’s anxiety about health, finances, and their home situations are rising fast. This may feel obvious but think about the recent rate of change here. 18-34-year-olds are hurting the most under the stresses of adulting with early careers and young families. Many 44-55 year-olds are at points where they’re not new at their jobs but nowhere near retiring and now they’re extra concerned with/for their kids and parents simultaneously. These are culture-level trends. Anyone in a relationship business will want to be sensitive to these realities.
While we may not be answering crisis line texts (you can apply here if interested), we can be aware of these issues and look for ways to have a positive impact. The roots of many of the questions our clients ask are in these simple categories. Being aware of the categories can help us draw the connections and frame solutions in useful ways that actually address the underlying anxiety. This is really powerful data to have access to.
Questions and concerns come from somewhere. Listen, look for commonalities, and remember, as Lublin says, “You can’t go wrong with kindness.” We can all do our part to help people find their way through these crazy times.
Stay current on Crisis Text Line’s work at www.crisistextline.com