#SPSM chats with @800273TALK and @CrisisTextLine about the impact of #ElectionCrisis16, 12/14/16, 9pCT

John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Bob Filbin, Chief Data Scientist at Crisis Text Line, join Dr. Bart Andrews, and special guest Chris Maxwell for a special #SPSM chat, 12/4/16, 9pCT. Don’t worry, @DocForeman will be moderating on Twitter, but is making room on the feed for needed expertise to effectively discuss #ElectionCrisis16

During the 2016 Presidential Election, crisis services across the United States experienced an unprecedented spike in crisis contacts, a spike several times the usual volume for a weeknight. This spike was so notable it was covered in most major news outlets during the week, including HuffPost, CNN, and others.

Our esteemed panel will discuss what happened, how crisis services responded, what the data shows us, and what we learned. Social media played a role in the spike, and also was a key communication channel leaders in this field used to respond to public concerns.

For example, read this press release by Crisis Text Line:

“You Got This, America (Dated: 11.9.16)

“Tuesday was a bit of surprise–for the people who are happy about the election results and the people who are unhappy. The entire country is feeling feels.

“What is the data?

“In the last 24 hours, we saw a 2x increase in volume.

  • The words “election” and “scared” are the top two things being mentioned by texters.
  • The most common association with “scared” was “LGBTQ.”
  • Over 5% of texters yesterday mentioned anxiety about family disagreement over the election.

“How are we handling this moment?

“We rallied! Our community of trained volunteer Crisis Counselors has been incredible. And, amazingly, our quality and response times have been higher than average!

  • Despite the increase in volume, we actually saw a 2 percentage point increase in satisfaction ratings. (A whopping 88% of texters said that connecting with us was helpful.)
  • Despite the increase in volume, we actually saw a 3 percentage point increase in speed. We were able to help 91% of texters in under 5 five minutes–including “high severity” texters connecting with a human in an average 39 seconds.

“How can YOU handle this moment?

“You’re feeling a lot of feels (confusion, fear, depression), but you’re probably not in crisis. There are simple things you can do to keep yourself calm and safe. And, you can share these things with other people too! (Helping others get calm is a terrific way to help yourself!)

  • Kindness. Do a random, anonymous act of kindness for someone else today. Putting love out there in the world is an amazing way to help someone else–and you–feel happy.
  • Community work.Frustrated about the national political landscape? Think local! Be part of a hands-on solution. DoSomething.org has hundreds of ideas–and they don’t require any $$.
  • People.Humans need other humans. If your parents voted for the other party, maybe avoid talking politics with your parents for a few days! Instead, spend time with people who feel your feels. Cook, exercise, binge on Netflix. Do activities with friends…beyond talking.
  • Self-Care. There are freeevidence-based techniques that can help you feel calm and in control: the 4-7-8 method54321 technique and this breathing gif.
  • Resources. We’ve listed some terrific resources at CrisisTextLine.org

“How to help a freaked-out friend?

“Are your friends having a tough time? You can help. Best thing you can do: listen.

  • Validate their feelings…and don’t try to solve the problem. You can’t solve other people’s problems!
  • Recognize their strengths. (“Wow, you are so brave.”)
  • Asking questions is great, and so is just simply listening. Lots of head nodding. Lots of hugs. Just be there.
  • Help them remember things that make them feel strong. Music? Exercise? Writing?
  • Feeling like you might be good at this? Apply to be a volunteer Crisis Counselor.

“You got this, America. Really, you do.”

Watch us LIVE here:


John Draper, Ph.D. is Project Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Draper has nearly 25 years of experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, and is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in crisis contact center practices (hotline, online chat, SMS services, etc.). He oversees all aspects of the federally-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, which consists of over 160 member crisis centers across the country. Dr. Draper frequently presents at national conferences on subjects related to best practices in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, as well as the use of innovative technologies (text, chat, other online programs, etc.) in helping persons in emotional distress. Dr. Draper also frequently discusses the role of persons with lived experience of suicide (attempt survivors, loss survivors, etc.) in suicide prevention. Dr. Draper has been quoted in The New York TimesABC NewsThe New York Post, and TIME among others.


Bob Filbin is Chief Data Scientist at Crisis Text Line, the first large-scale 24/7 national crisis line for teens on the medium they use and trust most: texting. Bob has given keynote lectures on data science for social change at the YMCA National CIOs Conference, NFAR Summit, and SXSW. He has written for the Harvard Business Review and Medium, and was named one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40 in 2016 who are making their mark in the nonprofit world. He lives in NYC.

About spsmchat

Suicide Prevention Social Media: Weekly chats, expert guests. Sundays at 6pm PT/9pm ET. Live-streaming at Twitter.com/spsmchat. Watch past shows on our blog. Hosted by Rudy Caseres. #SPSM
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2 Responses to #SPSM chats with @800273TALK and @CrisisTextLine about the impact of #ElectionCrisis16, 12/14/16, 9pCT

  1. Gretchen says:

    Just a note that the headline indicates this is happening on the 14th and the first paragraph says the 4th.

  2. Great info

    Thanks so much

    Appreciate your sharing
    Barbara Franks/Alaska

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