How It Works
The quick version
- Text SUPPORT to 23368 from anywhere in the USA. We are active and replying from 3-7 PM PT every day.
- After you answer a few quick automated questions, one of our trained agents will respond and talk to you about what you’re experiencing.
- They’ll provide a listening ear as well as information on resources that may be of use.
The long version
You feel like you need to talk to someone. It doesn’t matter if that’s because of a massive influx of vicious harassment or a troubling interaction with a coworker. Your feelings are valid, harassment and abuse take many forms, and we’re here for you. You reach us by texting SUPPORT to 23368.
A few quick automated questions will help us serve you more effectively. Then you’ll be texting with a real person, one of our trained hotline agents who’s there to help you in whatever way they can. They’ll chat with you about whatever it is that you’re dealing with, both to provide a sympathetic and supportive ear and to determine what next steps we can offer to best support you with the specific problems you’re facing. Our agents are there for you, and you never need to share more or less than you’re comfortable sharing.
Depending on your specific needs, our agent may offer direct referrals to additional resources that may be able to provide support and assistance.
- Today was really hard.
- I’m so glad you reached out. Tell me more about what’s been going on.
- I’m so frustrated and honestly overwhelmed. I don’t even know where to start.
- Let’s take it one step at a time. I’m here to listen and talk through whatever you want to share.
Why hasn’t the Games Hotline responded to my texts?
If you’re having trouble connecting with the Games Hotline, here’s a few things you might try:
- Have you sent the message STOP to our number (23368)? If so, you’ll have to send START to receive messages from us again.
- Did you get disconnected while texting with us? Reply SUPPORT again to re-enter the queue.
- If it’s been over 24 hours since our system has told you that you’ll be connected to a live agent, but you haven’t received any messages, an error may have happened on our side. Send the SUPPORT message again to refresh your place in the queue.
- Check if your carrier supports short codes. There are a small number of cell phone carriers who have not adopted short codes, unfortunately.
- Use our contact form to report an issue or for extra help troubleshooting your connection.
Remember that the Games Hotline is only available within the USA. You can text in any time; we’re online to respond every day from 3-7pm PT. When the line is busy, there may be some wait time before an agent texts you back. We’re sorry if accessing us has not been easy; please keep trying! We want to talk to you.
What if I’m not in a crisis? I don’t want to take up resources that someone else might need more.
We are an emotional support line, and we want to be here for anyone who needs a space to talk, whether or not they are in crisis. In fact, many people text us to talk about things that have happened in the past, what’s going on at their job or in their relationships, or about feeling lonely, heartbroken, or anxious. We really believe that it doesn’t have to be worse for it to matter. If you need any support, we’re here for you.
Privacy & Confidentiality
Can I be anonymous?
Yes; you decide what information you share during your conversation with us. You don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, and you can use any name you’d like. The phone number you text us from is masked in our system, so our agents will never see it.
How confidential is the Games Hotline?
This is a fully confidential space. Nothing you share with us and no personally identifiable information will ever be shared with outside entities. We will never share the content of your conversation with us or even the fact that you contacted us with your employer, your family, the authorities, your community, or anyone else.
Will you call the police on me?
We do not call 911 on anyone without their consent. If someone is experiencing crisis and would like our help in calling emergency services for them, we will explore some options with their situation. As a last resort, with consent, we can call for local emergency services on someone’s behalf.
What counts as gaming?
Video games (PC, console, handheld, mobile, VR, arcade), board games, and TTRPGs are mostly what comes to mind for us. But, there’s no gatekeeping gaming here; we never ask or require qualifications or proof that you know games, and we often talk to folks about things that are not gaming related at all. We’re just here for the community, whatever you’re going through.
Can I text in to the Games Hotline more than once?
Yes; if you’re needing emotional support, we encourage you to text us again. However, keep in mind that the Games Hotline is not a replacement for long-term counseling, therapy, or a friend.
If our traffic is busy, we may put a one-conversation-per-day limit.
What if I’m outside the USA?
Our Hotline is only available within the United States on USA-based cell phone carriers. You can look through our Resources or use the Find a Helpline tool to look up other hotlines by specialty that are available internationally.
Who answers the Games Hotline?
You’ll be connected to someone who is trained and experienced in offering emotional support around mental health, games community and industry-specific issues, sexual assault and abuse, dynamics of harassment, and suicide prevention. Because we don’t keep case files or offer long-term counseling, every conversation is its own instance. You may speak to a different person if you text in again, and they won’t have context or prior knowledge of past conversations you’ve had on the Hotline.
How much does it cost to text the Games Hotline?
The Hotline is a free service to use, but your cell phone carrier may charge messaging and data rates.
Can I find support on Discord? Can I text the Hotline through Facebook or Whatsapp?
At this time, the Games Hotline is reachable through SMS only.
Can I donate to the Games Hotline?
As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization we rely on generous donations from people like you! If you’d like to contribute please visit our Donate page. All donations are tax-deductible by the fullest extent allowed by law.
How else can I support the Games Hotline?
There are so many ways you can help from spreading the word about the Hotline to hosting a charity stream.
- Volunteering: reach out to us through our Contact page and indicate how you are interested in volunteering.
- Champions program: Are you a streamer, influencer, or community leader? Want to use your platform and connections to amplify the Games Hotline and our mission? Become one of our Champions, and we’ll set you up with all that you need.
- Fundraising: Many wonderful folks have hosted delightful charity streams for us by using our Streamer Creator Kit. Others have folded us into their corporate giving or fundraising programs, school charity events, or even held their own fundraising house parties on our behalf. Contact us for more details and resources on setting up fundraisers.
- Visit our Get Involved page for more information and ideas.