For troubled teens, help is just a text away

October 9, 2015, 4:30 PM UTC
General Images Of Vietnam Economy As Anti-China Riots Spoil Vietnam Dollar Bond Rally
A man uses a mobile phone in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Saturday, May 30, 2014. Vietnamese dollar bonds are missing out on a developing-nation rally on concern a territorial dispute with China that has sparked deadly riots will deter foreign investment. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Brent Lewin — Bloomberg/Getty Images

For many teens in the millennial era, making a phone call is a foreign concept. Messaging and texting using a mobile phone is their primary way of communicating with friends and family.

Crisis Text Line, a free, around the clock text-messaging support line for people in crisis, hopes to tap into this phenomenon. Teens who contact the organization talk by text with counselors about their problems like suicide, depression, and anorexia.

Crisis Text Line, a non-profit, said Thursday that it had closed $7 million in grant funding led by the Omidyar Network, the philanthropic foundation and investment fund started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Founder and CEO Nancy Lublin, who was formerly the CEO of and the creator of non-profit Dress for Success, initially raised $4 million for the organization in 2013 from LinkedIn founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman, and Warren Buffett’s son, Peter Buffett.

As Fortune spoke to Lublin about the funding on Thursday morning, at least 15 teenagers texted the organization’s crisis counselors about suicidal thoughts, Lublin she said.

With the new funding, Crisis Text Line’s says it will be able to process over 25 million text messages in 2016 and add 3,000 more crisis counselors. The organization also has ambitions of expanding to international markets in 2016. The service’s growth caught the attention of the four largest U.S. mobile carriers. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all agreed to waive texting fees for anyone using the service.

To use Crisis Text Line, teens send the organization a text with the word “START” to connect with the non-profit’s 800 volunteer crisis counselors. Since introducing its service in 2014, the organization has processed more than nine million messages from teens about suicide, depression, and LGBT issues.

Beyond the texting service, the organization wants to use the massive amount of anonymized data it collects from teens to help health professionals and schools. For example, it can figure out the worst time of day for depression based on when it gets texts or the worst day for people with eating disorders.

Crisis Text Line is also offering cities and organizations a monthly data report about texts originating from their areas of specialty. It can give cities and schools, in particular, visibility into the challenges that teens face in the region and what programs might help them.

While Crisis Text Line is a non-profit for now, Lublin says she is exploring partnerships with companies that could pay to use the organization’s text line for customer service requests. It’s still early, she said, so no decisions have been made on how Crisis Text Line would be structured.

For more about millennial habits, watch this Fortune video:

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