Yesterday I met a crisis counselor from Crisistextline.org, a relatively new online service in the US that makes it possible for distressed people to seek help via chat, 24/7. Data aggregated from its more than 18,000 conversations per day — nearly 19 million total since the service opened in August 2013 — also provide a staggering picture of how and when people experience such profound emotional distress that they will make contact with a stranger for support.
For those of us who believe that God and God’s church can be a source of great comfort and support, the data picture is, in itself, a source of emotional distress. It turns out that Sunday, our primary day of community celebration, is a very tough day in the world of crisis counselors. Sunday is the day of the week that the largest number of help-seekers to Crisistextline.org …
- Want to die
- Want to hurt themselves
- Feel isolated
- Struggle with family problems
- Struggle with friend issues
- Struggle with relationship issues
Sunday is also the day that most help-seekers …
- Struggle with eating disorders
Here, are screen captured data summaries (as of 6/19/16) from the site showing the days of the week when people are most likely to make contact for help with these critical personal issues.
I want to die / I want to hurt myself
Suicidal impulses and the desire to self-harm aren’t driven by exactly the same feelings, however similar they look. People who self-harm often are trying to relieve their internal pain while keeping on keeping on. People who want to die are often tired of trying. Texters representing both impulses peak on Sundays.
Sunday is when most people text Crisistextline.org with concern about self-harm, with texters gradually declining over the week.
Sunday is the day that the largest number of texters contact Crisistextline.org describing suicidal thoughts.
I Feel Alone
Sunday is also the biggest day for texters who feel isolated. A sense of isolation can be a precursor to suicidal thinking, which makes it a critical issue to address.
More texters address Crisistextline.org with feelings of isolation on Sunday than any other day of the week.
My Relationships are a Mess
Sunday is the biggest day for texters who feel in crisis about a significant relationship. Because a sense of belonging is so essential to our human understanding of who we are and what makes us important in this world, relational crises can seriously undermine our desire to press forward in life.
Family issues are major concerns among texters to Crisistextline.org on Sundays, with Wednesday the next heaviest day for family-related texts.
Thursday is when the highest volume of texters contact Crisistextline.org about issues with friends. Sunday and Wednesday are next.
Sunday is the day of the week when the most texters approach Crisistextline.org with concerns about relationship issues — boyfriends and girlfriends in particular
Binging, Purging, and Other Eating Disasters
Eating disorders are complex issues that generally have less to do with food than with an inaccurate self-image or a feeling that most of your life is under someone else’s control. Peak days for texters in crisis fall toward the end of the week and on weekends.
Is it Sunday dinner, the church bake sale, shame after Saturday night with friends she thinks are cuter, or just a way to stuff the hole left by weekend loneliness? Whatever the reason, Sunday is the day when Crisistextline.org hears from the most texters concerned about eating disorders.
Find help today
People of many ages prefer to make contact by text instead of by telephone. Sometimes text is the only way to seek help. A woman taking refuge in a locked bathroom from her abusive spouse may not dare to allow her voice to be heard. A potential suicide at Niagara Falls may not be able to make his voice heard over the thunder of the crashing waters.
If you need help now, you can contact Crisistextline.org by texting START to 741-741.
Texts are free if your provider is AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. With other providers, standard message rates apply.
If all of their volunteers are helping other people in crisis, please jump the emotional hurdle to call one of the many good telephone crisis lines offered on their referral page.