Director, Crisis Trends Institute

New York, United States · Data


Crisis Text Line is looking for a Director to launch and lead our Crisis Trends Institute. Many of the projects the Institute will oversee have already started within Crisis Text Line; the role of the Institute will be to package these to become the global source of data-informed public policy and thought leadership for mental health.

Why now?

Mental health is a growing, international crisis. For profit, not-for-profit, and governmental agencies are all working on solutions in parallel, with limited sharing of resources and learnings. There is an opportunity right now to coordinate smart collaboration so solutions are effective, inclusive, and scalable.

Why Crisis Text Line?

Having laid new paths for how to use, gather, and share data, and how to bring global reach and idea-changing methods to get people help at scale, Crisis Text Line has shown it can deliver. We have the largest corpus in the space, and it should be leveraged for broader application to help the entire field.

The Institute will provide 3 main functions, which the Director will oversee.

1. Enclave Research. The Crisis Text Line data corpus is 110 million messages with volume, velocity, variety. It is the largest corpus of its kind, and annotated by both texters and Crisis Counselors. This corpus is extremely valuable to researchers who can query it to advance mental health systems and expose new paradigms for public mental health, catalyzing conversation that serves mental health innovation and policy. Research fellows can be world-class machine learning and computational linguistics researchers, experts in emerging areas of improving population mental health, or be experts in specific areas of data mining for mental health. They will be invited to spend a semester at the Institute to work with our own message level data, or to complete work that develops other key next-wave opportunities. See examples of papers published on our data here.

2. Thought Leadership. The Institute seeks to establish itself as a leading, non-partisan expert in the field.

We see six main venues for this voice:

● Continued development and growth of public-facing data.

● Press. We have the data to inspire conversation. We will issue press releases and strategically share information to spark important journalism. Turning Crisis Trends Institute and leadership into trusted resource for news media to utilize.

● Subscription newsletter and serial policy/analytic briefs. We will share data and policy insights on a monthly basis and be a go-to resource for forward thinking on mental health policy and systems

● Blog. Insightful learnings.

● Speakers. Offer Institute leadership for conferences, panels, keynotes to share our knowledge widely.

● Emergency bulletins. Time sensitive information on events like shootings, celebrity deaths, supporting and transmitting implications of our data, as well as of the data generated in collaboration with others.

3. Convening power. The Institute will regularly host gatherings of key stakeholders and influencers. These meetings will take two forms:

● Quarterly issue convening. Gathering the leading minds, org leaders, and journalists on key areas of mental health that our data and evolving research and policy development yields. Initially built around Crisis Text Line data to point to opportunities for collaborative initiatives, it will increasingly expand to convene the best opportunities for exposure and new directions to take overall. For example, one quarter might be focused on lgbtq youth and mental health. The next quarter might be learnings about volunteerism for mental health and communities

● Emergency gatherings. When we spot trends or find surprising things, sentinel events, and/or disparities, we will convene relevant people. For example, pulling together the leadership of Department of Health for the 5 states with the highest self harm rates.

What you will be doing

● Be the public face of the Institute. You’ll be the person the press and conference organizers turn to around questions of crisis and mental health.

● Hire and oversee Institute staff. This will include a Head of Public Affairs, CIO, Data Engineer, and Policy Analyst. (Some Crisis Text Line staff will also support.)

● Oversee the researchers, Operationalizing against KPIs determined by you and the Institute Board.

● Fundraising. You will be overseeing ~2M year budget, including sourcing those funds.


You bring...

● Gravitas in Mental Health. Your network is strong at senior level. You have done public speaking, been quoted, and have the ability to convene strong thinkers.

● Team leadership. Experience hiring and running a team, especially policy and/or technical staff (e.g., data science, engineering). Ability to create strong culture, make hard decisions, etc.

● Strategic leadership. Excellent collaboration skills, results-driven mindset, design thinking concepts or other visualization concepts that drive storytelling. And, a fondness for mixed-methods, including quantitative and qualitative research.

● Fundraising leadership. You’ve written plans, pitched plans, and landed funds. You are comfortable in a room alone with a billionaire...and you walk out with money


Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 emotional support and information to people in crisis, by text. We aim to move every texter in crisis from a hot moment to a cool calm. Crisis Text Line is one of the first non-profits built from the ground up around data and technology. In our first five years, our Crisis Counselors have exchanged over 100 million messages with texters in crisis. We plan to exchange the next 100 million in the next 11 months. This means now have the largest dataset on crisis in the world. We’re using this data in two ways: (1) to improve our service internally, and (2) to improve the crisis space as a whole. For the public, we’ve developed, which updates daily. For researchers, we have a Fellows Program, where researchers spend 6 months with us, breaking new ground for crisis care and research-for-good. So far, 5 papers have been published with our data; we expect another 10 in the next twelve months. Crisis Text Line is headquartered in New York City. Come help us shape the story of what #dataforgood means here at Crisis Text Line and in the world.

We also provide:

Apply for this job