When Should I Call The California Youth Crisis Line?

Published on February 18, 2021

A question we get from adults and youth alike is “when should I call the California Youth Crisis Line?” and “how do I know if my Crisis is even a crisis?” When we go out into the community to let folx know about our line we get these questions (and more) A LOT. This article will help clear up any myths or misconceptions about reaching out to us and what we can do to help.

“When should I call you?”

The simple answer: anytime you think you need us. Our Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to youth and families. We want to hear from you, we want to help in any way we can.

“How do I know if my crisis is even worth calling about?”

Your crisis is worth calling about. Whether it is ‘I’m having a bad day’ or ‘school is really difficult right now’ to seeking mental health services or figuring out where to find shelter and food for the night, your well-being (and the well-being of your family) is important to us.

“So, what happens when I call/text you guys?”

After you call or text our number (800-843-5200) a trained crisis counselor will receive it and respond within minutes (if not right away). Then our crisis counselor will help you deescalate your situation and connect you to help in your local area. Our line is safe and supportive and nothing to be intimidated or frightened by. Our crisis counselors are trained, caring individuals who are volunteering their time to help you work through your crisis and get you access to the help you need.

“Can I only reach out to you via phone?”

While a lot of crisis lines have the misconception that calling via phone is the main ways youth, families, and those who work with youth can reach one of our crisis counselors, we also have texting and online chatting as viable options for getting a hold of us! If you text our number (800-843-5200) or if you visit www.calyouth.org/chat you will be connected to a crisis counselor who can help you de-escalate or connect you to services.

“Should I only call if I’m experiencing thoughts of suicide (or self-harm)?”

Our trained counselors at the California Youth Crisis Line are available for anyone who is experiencing any crisis. Crisis can range from a wide range of topics (check out www.calyouth.org/cycl/top-10-call-topics for an idea) that also includes self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and mental illness-related concerns. If you feel like you are having a crisis, of any size, give us a call.

Although we define ‘crisis’ with such broad strokes (to encourage anyone in need to reach out to us for help) anyone utilizing our line should recognize that the California Youth Crisis line is neither short- nor long-term substitutes for therapy, emergency care, or professional health care.

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