Ohio launches system for those in crisis to text for help

(Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio has launched a system allowing people in stressful situations to text counselors for help, day or night.

Tracy Plouck, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services director, says the program doesn't replace counseling but allows for people feeling completely overwhelmed to connect with someone.

Plouck says that while crisis phone lines have been used successfully for decades, technology is changing and it's important to offer other ways for Ohioans to get help.

The program , which began Thursday, allows people to text the keyword "4hope" to 741741.

Trained crisis counselors will be available to respond and share information on a range of issues, including thoughts of suicide, bullying, depression and self-harm.

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