Because you ought to know …
When you text 38255, you’re connected with Colorado Crisis Services, Colorado’s first statewide resource for mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. CCS came out of an initiative from Gov. John Hickenlooper, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, to strengthen Colorado’s mental health system.
If you haven’t yet watched our short video interview with a counselor, we urge you to do so here.
Longer answer: We try to collect date of birth and ZIP code data to figure out where our services are having an impact, and on what demographic. This information helps us refine our outreach and services; in short, it helps us help other teens. But you aren’t required to provide your ZIP and date of birth if you don’t want to.
As for your name, counselors tend to ask for names simply because it’s nice to know a name when having a personal conversation. (Also, your counselor will be sharing his or her name with you.) However, giving your first name isn’t required, either.
If it’s appropriate, before your exchange ends the counselor will offer you the chance to schedule a follow-up text. This is completely your choice. It involves a counselor texting you later, at your desired day and time, to see how you’ve been doing since our last conversation.
At the very end of your session, you’ll also get one question that asks you to rate the “helpfulness” of your text conversation. This feedback really helps us analyze how we’re doing, and where we can improve.
Because of work schedules and unpredictable demand, we can’t guarantee that you will reach the same counselor when you text the next time. However, the counselor you reach will have access to notes from any previous conversations, so you don’t have to explain your entire situation again if you don’t want to.
If a counselor determines that you or someone you know is in immediate danger, it is possible that he or she might request assistance from law enforcement. But even in that scenario, immigration status should not be an issue, according to these statements provided to us by local law enforcement.
From the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office: “It is the policy of our Office to not question immigration status of anyone requesting our service. This issue would only come up after a legal arrest for state and local criminal and traffic violations in which the person can not provide proof of identity.”
From the Colorado Springs Police Department: “CSPD officers do not check immigration status of individuals with whom they routinely come in contact. To do so would negatively impact the willingness of individuals to cooperate with CSPD. There is no constitutional or statutory requirement for individuals to provide proof of immigration status when contacted by the police, therefore it would be inappropriate for our officers to make such inquiries.
“CSPD will comply with the U.S. Constitution and all binding statutory and case law. Immigration Law is a federal responsibility, outside of our responsibility and mission. This does not mean we will provide sanctuary to those violating immigration law. We will continue to comply with requirements of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including working with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to share information on national origin of arrestees who are jailed. We support the efforts of ICE to arrest, detain and deport undocumented individuals who have committed felony crimes.”
Generally speaking, what you share with counselors at Colorado’s text support line will remain confidential. Just like a doctor’s office, we follow HIPAA regulations, as well as federal and Colorado laws. Our goal is to work with you in a crisis and together develop plans that are helpful for you.
However, Colorado law does consider our counselors mandated reporters — meaning they are required to inform law enforcement of certain safety threats. These exceptions to confidentiality (listed in the Colorado statutes, C.R.S. §12-43-218) can include, but are not limited to:
- when a CTL user is determined to be a harm to self or others, including those identifiable by their association with a specific location or entity
- child abuse or neglect situations
- abuse or exploitation of an at-risk elder or the imminent risk of abuse or exploitation
- when a CTL user is determined to be gravely disabled
We do not share your mobile number or any of the information you provide on the text support line with third parties, nor will we engage in the selling of address material to list services. When we ask for information about your birthdate and ZIP code it is simply so we can understand who is using the service and where people are learning about it. No personal identifying information is used when we review this kind of data.
For a full rundown of terms and conditions (posted by our colleagues at Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners), see here.
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Counselors are working in our Denver office right now. No expectations, no judgments, and no comparisons. It's amazing what a single text can do to change your whole story.