Mental health counseling is just a text away

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Seeking a mental health counselor can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

In a crisis, it's important to get the help needed and a new trend puts mental health counseling at your fingertips.

Nate Bock knows counseling can come in many forms. Not only has he studied mental health at length, he offers counseling on University of Nebraska Omaha's campus.

"Somebody might be more comfortable writing, texting or typing something than they might be saying,” explained Bock.

New services advertised allow patients to get help right from their phones, but Bock thinks some of the meaning of the texts may get lost in translation.

"So, we could end up in a whole different direction where one persons' typing one thing and the other person's interpreting it a certain way,” he said. “It has some risks with it."

"We don't believe that there should be just one medium for how people need to get help,” said Liz Eddy with Crisis Text Line.

Bexting isn't the only way to get help and for some, it may not be the best.

"It was started out of a real need,” said Eddy.

Their inspiration comes from something they discovered: A new generation of Americans that sometimes require simple text-to-text communication as the first step to addressing their crisis.

"There's sort of this ideology that everyone's staring at their phones, but what we're not realizing is the power that you can have with that technology and the connections that you can make,” she said.

While reaching for our phones may sometimes seem like an escape from conversation, Crisis Text Line sees this in some people as a possible cry for help. They see spikes in usage of the service around lunch time hours when people have a minute alone with their phones.

"If it's a crisis to you, it's a crisis to us,” said Eddy.

The Crisis Text Line has more than 3,500 trained counselors world-wide.

Some Omaha-area counselors reiterated that building a relationship with a professional in person can sometimes be most beneficial in long-term mental health care.

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