Coping with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a lifelong process, with many different highs and lows. No matter how long ago the abuse was, the characteristics of the abuse, or where you’re at in life now, there is always help available for those who need it. The most important thing is recognizing when you or a loved one may be in need of support, and accessing the appropriate resources designed to give you the help you need and deserve.
One important issue to be aware of is a crisis. You, or someone you love, may be in crisis if they are experiencing severe impacts to their mental health that may be life-altering or life-threatening. An individual is in an immediate crisis if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors or are expressing suicidal ideations to others. If you, or someone you love, is experiencing this, it is important to seek assistance immediately. Other signs of mental health crisis include significant weight changes, changes in sleep patterns, changes in personal hygiene, performance difficulties at school or work, dramatic mood changes or disturbances, or an overall withdrawal from the world or things an individual once enjoyed.1 If you or someone you know is in crisis, please consider contacting the following organizations as soon as possible:
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)
The national sexual assault telephone hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is completely anonymous. Your area code is used to help find resources in your area, however, that’s the only information that is given to the hotline staff. The individuals who run the hotline are trained, and the hotline can also be accessed via an online chat at online.rainn.org. The hotline can help those in crisis, provide support and information, and help you or a loved one find resources near you.2
Darkness to Light Hotline for Child Sexual Abuse: 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741
Individuals of all ages within the United States can call the Darkness to Light hotline for crisis support from trained counselors, resources in their area, and help in reporting potential abuse. The helpline is available 24/7, and all calls are confidential.3
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The national suicide prevention lifeline is a hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed with trained experts to help individuals in distress or crisis. If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, consider calling the suicide prevention lifeline for support and resources.4
This is not an exhaustive list of all potential crisis helpline options. If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis or danger, you can also call 911 for emergency aid.
- How to Help in an Emotional Crisis. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/emotional-crisis.aspx. Accessed January 20, 2018.
- About the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline. Accessed January 20, 2018.
- National Resources. Darkness to Light. https://www.d2l.org/get-help/national-resources/. Accessed January 20, 2018.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Accessed January 20, 2018.