Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Please check our FAQ.

You don’t know me. Why do you care?

We care about you because you are a human being and an important member of our community who deserves to feel valued and happy. You deserve to be cared about and live. We want to help you stay safe so you have the opportunity to have the kind of life we all want – one with purpose, hope, and joy.

Is this site secure and confidential?

The software provided to us by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses the same encryption and data protection standards required by banks. All conversations are encrypted. Your personal information and conversation are confidential. No one will know you’ve contacted us or have any access to what we’ve talked about unless you or someone else are at imminent risk of harm and there is no other solution to keep you or them safe.

Can you track me and send the police?

We can, but we rarely do. It is our policy to only involve police if we believe you are going to kill yourself or harm another person in the very near future (imminent harm) and it is our philosophy that almost all people experiencing a suicidal crisis need to talk about it first in order to find a way to stay safe, so just sharing your thoughts and feelings about suicide with us will not result in a visit by police; we have to believe you will die if we don’t send police in order for that to be an option for us.

I’ve never thought of suicide before. Does it mean I’m “crazy” to be thinking of it now?

Not at all. Most people think about suicide at some time during their life. Thinking about it now means that you are feeling an intense level of emotional pain that could be caused by stressful life events or feeling alone. You most likely want the pain to stop and are struggling to feel hope that it ever will. Please talk to one of our Crisis Counselors to help you get through this crisis and find ways to cope that allow you to stay alive. We want you to stay with us – you are important.

If I ask my friend if they’re thinking about killing themselves won’t that give them the idea?

If they are thinking about killing themselves, they already have the idea. Asking someone if they are thinking about dying by suicide actually helps them feel better. It relieves the pressure that’s built up inside them and helps reduce urges to make the pain stop by attempting to kill themselves. It also makes them feel cared about and lets them know you are a safe person to talk to about suicide now or in the future. You can talk to one of our Crisis Counselors for specific ideas about having this conversation or call a crisis line and ask someone there to help you and/or call your friend to check in with them. In these counties of Washington State (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island, and Snohomish) call (800) 584-3578. Everyone else in the United States, please call (800) 273-TALK (8255) to connect with a Lifeline call center near you.

Why should I call my local crisis line?

Crisis lines have access to emergency services that you cannot find on your own. Some crisis lines have teams of social workers who can actually meet with you face-to-face, can make direct referrals to case managers who can work with you over a period of time to make sure you find the help you need, or know which agencies in your area have emergency funds to assist you in getting in-person mental health services. Some can even schedule emergency, next-day appointments for you.

Does cutting make me a bad person?

Cutting never makes you a bad person. It is a coping strategy - not the safest one, but one many people use to feel something when they are numb inside or to change the way they are feeling. It can be a way to make deep emotional pain stop for a while or become dull. There are many alternatives to cutting. You can try some of these suggestions.

Our Crisis Counselors are happy to talk with you about your feelings around cutting.

Do I have to be suicidal for you to talk to me?

No, we actually hope to talk with you long before you consider suicide as an option so that the chance you will ever think about killing yourself becomes very small.

Can I talk to the same Crisis Counselor I talked to earlier?

While it is likely you will talk to the same Crisis Counselor more than once during repeated visits, this is not something you can request. We want to help you now and due to the high volume of chats coming to this center and the amount of time it takes to have a good conversation, it is not advisable to try to wait for the person you talked to last time to become available. Building dependence on a specific Crisis Counselor can increase your distress when they are not available. If you identify as a female and request to speak with a female, you will be transferred to one if possible.

Do you have a translator?

The software used for ImHurting Crisis Chat has the ability to translate other languages into English so our Crisis Counselors are able to communicate with people who write in a language other than English. At this time, translation is unavailable for our Texting services.

Can I have a copy of my conversation?

Unfortunately due to the nature of online communication, we are unable to establish the identity of a specific individual with only an IP address, so the only way we can legally release a transcript of a conversation is with a subpoena.

When is my situation bad enough to talk to a Crisis Counselor?

Please don’t wait until you feel “bad enough” to talk to someone. You are welcome to talk about anything you need help with or that is troubling you at any time. We really hope to speak with you as soon as you think about talking to someone. The earlier, the better – there’s no need to wait for things to get worse.

How old do you have to be?

We talk to people of all ages.

If you're open 24/7, why does it say you're "offline"?

​We never close, and our Crisis Chat is open 24/7. When all of our counselors are busy talking to other people the software says: “Thank you for visiting, all our operators are currently offline”. What this really means is the counselors are talking to someone else and will be with you as soon as they are available. At this time, Texting services will have limited hours (Tuesday-Thursday 8am to 11pm PST). If you need help outside of those hours, please use our other services.

How does texting work?

Using our number (available soon!), type START to begin a conversation every time. To unsubscribe or end a conversation type STOP.

Can I send emojis or pictures?

We are unable to receive or send emojis or pictures.

Does the Texting Service cost money?

While our service is provided for free, any applicable standard data and texting rates specific to your phone plan apply.

Will my parents see that I texted in?

We keep all texts confidential and will never show them to your parents. However, whether the number or text will show up on a bill depends on your phone carrier. If this is a concern, please use our Chat Services to ensure privacy.