Who Should Use What’s Up?

The app is designed to help young people 11-24. But, the short answer is anyone.  What’s Up is available for anyone in need of emotional support, at any time.  While the line is intended for crisis situations, you do not need to be in crisis to use the service.  We also encourage you to use the app if you have concerns about a friend or loved one who may also need crisis intervention.

After sending your text to 274-637, you will receive an automatic reply within seconds, then a reply from a live counselor within minutes.

Is there really a live person on the other end texting back?

Yes! Counselors are fully licensed by the State, and local to your community. This allows our team to help you through your crisis and to direct you to the resources you’ll need next. That is what makes this program so unique. There are highly trained licensed mental health professionals answering text messages from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm for real life, immediate help. All the help provided through the texting line is catered to the individual texting at the moment. Nothing is computer generated.

What makes the line anonymous?

All texts are routed through a cloaking server that encrypts the data being sent. Each texter is assigned an alphanumeric code (such as J5432) so that the phone number is not known to the therapist on call. Simply put, we couldn’t get the information if we wanted to. Phone number and location are encrypted.

Will the call be anonymous and confidential?

Confidentiality and anonymity are the most important aspects of our program. This allows young people to feel comfortable reaching out for help. We will not have access to any personal information unless the texter decides to share that information and all communication is confidential.  Text messages are sent through a cloaking server located offsite that keeps the communication completely anonymous.

In cases where there is a need for further information from a texter, we will attempt to gather identifying information so that we can provide emergency response through the help of local law enforcement. As trained mental health professionals, we are equipped with the knowledge of what to ask and say during a crisis situation.

The information that is gathered will only be used to help get further help for someone in crisis. The information will not be stored at the site level.

What if someone is saying they want to hurt themselves?

We find that in most cases, if someone reaches out in times of crisis, they want help. We will ask the appropriate and necessary questions to gather information to get them that help. We will do all we can to gather information that will allow us to work with local law enforcement, and local crisis response teams, to get the person the help they need.


What if someone just needs to talk and is not in crisis?

Aside from crisis intervention, our trained and licensed therapists are available to talk with young people on issues they may face every day. Issues such as parent-child conflicts, peer pressure, LGBT issues, drugs, bullying, etc. are very common and are treated with the amount of care given to our crisis texters.

We are also able to provide resources to each texter based on their immediate need. By asking simple, non-identifying questions, we can provide them resources in their geographic area should they need further support.

Why do you think young people will use texting over phone calls or in-person care?

SafeHouse has worked with youth and young adults in Riverside County, since 1990. We have an excellent relationship with young people and have gotten direct feedback, through our programs and youth focus groups, that this is a service that young people will use as their preferred method of communication.

Young people are not always able to make a phone call. This could be due to parental constraints, peer constraints, or they are just afraid to speak out loud what they have going on. Texting is seen as a more informal form of communication and young people are more likely to text what they are thinking rather than say it out loud. In this ever increasing digital age where social media and texting are king, Safehouse feels young people are more likely to reach out for help if they have to do little more than text for immediate help.

How are texts managed?

At full capacity, and serving a population of 3 million in our county, we expect to receive up to 60 texts per day. Also at full capacity, we will have 3 or more lines operational at any given moment. We are fully prepared and equipped to handle the volume of texts that are anticipated.

Should there be an overwhelming number of texts that come in at once, the therapist can call for back up. The Clinical Supervisor can access the calls through a secured online interface, at which time the therapist will know the text is being responded to.

In the event of a catastrophic event such as mass shooting or natural disaster, Safehouse is equipped with a clinical team that can respond as needed through the online interface, all done with the clinical oversight of the Clinical Supervisor to ensure program fidelity.

In addition to the procedures put in place at a local level, Safehouse has the ability to enroll clinical help from LEAD, the program responsible for the development of the program.

What happens if you get texts from counties outside of Riverside?

There is no discernible way for us to tell where the text is coming from. We will treat each and every text that comes in with the same amount of care. If a texter would like resources for a surrounding county, we are equipped with hotline numbers to refer them to so that they may get the additional assistance the need.


Are there SafeHouse programs offered outside of the shelter?

Yes, our Cup of Happy program offers Peer-to-Peer supportive services in Riverside and Coachella Valley. Services include anger management, depression support, LGBT support, and a wide array of services for youth that may not qualify for intensive services. Call SafeHouse for more information or visit our FaceBook



Should a young person 11-17 find themselves in a crisis situation and need immediate help, they can go to one of our shelters. We are located in Riverside and the Coachella Valley. Both shelters are open 24/7, no appointment necessary.  Local bus systems will bring a youth to SafeHouse, or youth can go to any location displaying the Safeplace sign and get help.

Homeless young adults may be able to apply for our Tranisitional Living Program – supportive housing and independent living skills for youth 18-21 years of age.

Call SafeHouse for more information or text us using the What’s Up SafeHouse app.

Riverside 951-351-4418

Coachella Valley 760-343-3211