Crisis hotlines all around the world are working on ways to bring crisis counseling services to people whose preferred communication media involve text-based communication, rather than voice-based. There's a lot of really exciting work happening in the field (I was part of it, on the national level, until very recently), and it has a ton of potential.
People often try to shoot holes in the idea, though, saying things like "you can't talk about emotion in text", "texts aren't real communication", and "omg ur suicidil lol!!!". Typically, the level of hostility is linearly related to the speaker's age. They often focus on the unavailability of verbal and visual cues (tone of voice, pacing of speech, expression, redness of the face, body language, etc.) and use them to justify the belief that emotional communication, online, is impossible.
My new rebuttal: if verbal and visual cues are necessary for communicating emotion, how is it possible that deaf and blind people share their feelings? There's a deaf woman who works in my local grocery store, and I speak with her quite often. She knows how to read lips, and she's able to speak intelligibly even though she can't hear herself (the more I think about this, the more impressive it seems). She's quite capable of understanding and conveying emotion without tone of voice.
Similarly, our crisis hotline has had several blind volunteers--all were successful crisis hotline workers once we got them past the technical challenges of using our unfamiliar technology (phones, databases). It's worth pointing out that, as far as crisis hotline callers are concerned, ALL of us are blind. And yet we help them.
Saying that online environments cannot convey emotion clearly is the same argument as saying that emotion cannot be shared over the phone, by deaf people, or by the blind. It's just not true. The means of communication may be different, but people find a way.