How text messages can help people seek help anonymously

Before mobile technology changed the way it did, the best option for anyone who felt depressed, suicidal or stuck in a bad situation was to call anonymous hotlines. While these services remain valuable for those who don't have a cell phone to send a text, these organizations are giving texters the option to express their distress.

National Dating Abuse Helpline is one of many nonprofits out there, responding to more than 850 text messages per month, according to reports from a CBS affiliate. At first the challenge was figuring out how to provide great service in 160 characters, but with short links it has made it a more feasible alternative.

"It was amazing to me to hear young people say this is the most private way for them to communicate," National Dating Abuse Helpline President Katie Ray-Jones told the news source.

Ray-Jones added that anonymity is important on the help line, but if the texter is in a violent situation, they always recommend calling 911. In cases that the victim can't do this, getting to a safe place is the next call to action.

Unfortunately, seeking refuge in a secure location is not as easy as it sounds. Over in Canada, human trafficking groups are trying to get more women out of the sex worker system through their own anonymous text messaging service. The mission is commonly known as"Project Backpage," which has been around for two years, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.

"This is a superb technology to create an introduction to somebody who is in the sex industry who may need assistance," Chrysalis founder Jacqui Linder told Reuters. "What I like about the technology is the user gets to decide. The person who is in the industry gets to decide whether or not to respond."

Project Backpage's example of text messaging programs is one of many ways to leverage SMS systems. Businesses can utilize text messages to talk with customers, announce upcoming sales or confirm reservations. Swift SMS Gateway has the tools to create this path of communication.