Text-a-Tip

24/7 Anonymous Text-A-Tip System for Mental Health

Text the phrase "847HELP" to 274637

January 22, 2014 - A 24/7 anonymous text system called Text-A-Tip has been launched by the Community Wellness Task Force of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.  Using text messaging, a person wishing to share a concern about him- or herself or someone else will be able to do so and receive help, while maintaining confidentiality and anonymity.

The Text-A-Tip system provides an anonymous text-communication system for youth and adults in Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, and Knollwood. Anyone sending the text message “847HELP” to 274637 will receive an immediate response and will be able to hold a conversation while remaining completely anonymous.

While the Text-A-Tip System will be available for communication of any kind or concern, it is intended for community members to use when they need immediate mental health assistance for themselves or for a friend.  The anonymity of the communication makes it a comfortable place for someone to share a concern about another individual without risk of someone knowing who sent the report.  The ultimate outcome will be to provide an outlet for community members to voice concerns about themselves or someone else in an ultimate effort to create a safer and healthier community.  

How It Works: Our community receives a unique ID which routes messages, in real-time, to our respondents. All messages are sent through a cloaking server in Canada that keeps the communication completely anonymous.   Anyone wishing to use the system will simply text the phrase “847HELP” to 274637.  

Who Responds to the Texts? The response team consists of licensed/certified mental health professionals from the Child, Adolescent, and Family Recovery Center in Lake Bluff-- meaning all respondents are local clinicians known to the community. Response team members rotate via a pre-established on-call schedule and are responsible for appropriately responding to each communication and for following up and reporting whenever necessary.  In the case of a life-threatening condition or criminal activity, emergency responders will be notified.   The system has been in the testing, training, and implementation phase for the past three months, and numerous community groups have received a demonstration of the system’s features.  

This resource is spearheaded by community partners including LEAD, Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest College, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, and both the Village of Lake Bluff and City of Lake Forest Police Departments.  Substantial funding has been provided by LEAD and the Community Wellness Task Force.