Suicide Hotlines

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by bleach, Apr 20, 2008.

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  1. bleach

    bleach Well-Known Member

    To anyone who has called one of them before:
    What was it like?
    Did it help you at all?
    What kind of people answer the phones for them, anyway?
    Would you recommend it?
    If I call them, am i likely to be reported to police or hospitals?
    I have been feeling like i really need to talk to somebody about my problems, it just seems like venting on the internet does not cut it. It's scary for me to just pick up the phone and call some stranger... or telling a stranger about myself at all... but I don't have anyone in my personal life i can really talk to, either.
  2. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    yep i called the hse suicide hotline here in ireland. i really recommend it.
    the hotline, the night i called, was staffed by a retired mental health worker.
    we have talked many times since that initial call, and i even gave john my number. he calls randomly, every week or so now, to see how i'm doing and what is new with me. he is a great listener, very sympathetic and supportive. he made sure i had the number for something called "south doc" -- they cover at night when my family doc is not around -- this was in case, once we finished talking, i wanted to go to the hospital.
    i think different lines have different policies, but most will not report you to the police. if you are on the absolute verge, they might ask you if they can call emergency services for you, if you want some help. if you are in doubt as to their policies, just ask at the beginning of the call.
    it was scary to call but i am so glad i did. it really helped to share my pain with another human being. you wouldn't think talking for an hour would be such a help but once we talked, i no longer wanted to harm myself. instead, i calmed down enough to go to sleep.
  3. Fishman

    Fishman Guest

    I guess the hotline's policies depend on the organization as to what they try and do.
  4. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    In the UK at least, there's the Samaritans. (I'm not sure of any others, but there are others out there).
    I only e-mailed them, and they were quite helpful, but they're quite restricted in what they can say, as they don't give advice - they're only there to listen.
    As to who answers the phones, for Samaritans - simply people over 18, who are trained to be a Samaritan, who are good at listening without judging :)
    You say it's scary to actually talk to people, which I can understand, but remember that they're a stranger, and they're there for you, during the call. They don't know you, and you don't know them, which can be a relief :)
    Re: being reported to the police and hospitals, with Samaritans, no - you won't be at all. All the calls are confidential.

    I can't speak for any US etc. ones though.
  5. bleach

    bleach Well-Known Member

    So what do I say when i call? I'd feel stupid to just say "hey, what's up.."
  6. Undone

    Undone Active Member

    I've never called one, but they know why you are calling. I'm sure they are quite used to callers being hesitant and quiet at first. Maybe just start off by saying why you are calling... "I need someone to talk to" "I have nowhere else to turn" or whatever it may be. They are trained for this, don't put pressure on yourself as if there's some protocol, if you just want to sit there with them on the phone while you collect your thoughts that's ok too.
  7. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    Take your time, you can just start by saying something like ''Hey... I need someone to talk to'', or something similar :) - take things at your own pace, and speak only when you're ready.. They'll sit there with you and listen for as long as you need. :)
  8. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    here's how my first call started:

    me: hi
    hotline: hi there
    me: umm... is this the helpline?
    hotline: it sure is
    me: ok.
    uhhhhh... ummmmmm.... errrrrrrgghhh..... thing is, i really have no idea where to start....

    well he just began by asking a few questions (i don't remember what, something like how are you tonight?) and we took it from there. i had no clue where to begin but within a few minutes it was okay.

    my attitude was, i'm not leaving this planet without trying everything first before i attempt again, i know the hotline was a resource so i figured i had nothing to lose by calling them...

    let me know how it goes?
  9. bleach

    bleach Well-Known Member

    So... a couple weeks later....

    I called the hotline a few times but didn't say anything. I thought over the phone would be easier. Guess not. Every time I hear someone on the line I can't get a word out. :dry: Frustrating.

    I don't know. I can't open up to anyone in any situation. Feels like I'm trapped. I don't want to be this person.
  10. ThoseEmptyWalls

    ThoseEmptyWalls Well-Known Member

    I called one once when I was feeling very low and there was no one around for me to talk to. A very nice man answered the phone. He did not ask me any personal questions and even offered to help me find low cost or free services in my area. He let me talk about anything and everything I wanted and he listed for a very long time. When he had to go he asked me to call him back in a short time to let him know how I was doing. I did call back and he chatted with me a while longer..It was a helpful experience because I was able to get my thoughts out of my head..Nothing bad happened from my calling... I did not get a free ride to the hospital and no police came to my door... I would call again if I felt low and had no one to talk with.
  11. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    the phone line isn't for everyone. but if you have nobody else to talk to about feeling suicidal, then it's still worth trying.

    could you write down the first few sentences, just like you would if you were gonna see the doctor? kind of a script. things you could say, to start: "hello... i don't know what to say..." you don't have to get into all the details over the phone, that could be so overwhelming. just start small.
  12. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    Does telling your troubles to the strangers around here help? No? Then why would telling them to a stranger on the phone help?

    Talking therapy takes a long time, in part because you need to establish a relationship with your pshrink. The guy on the phone will not be able to offer you any magic cure, because he's a complete stranger.

    Their job is to do a quick assessment, and to contact police if they can't talk you into a hospital. If you want to go, then why bother with the hotline? If not, then why bother with the hotline?

  13. I agree with you, ned.

    Besides, the hotline person doesn't necessarily really know/care about the caller. They have a script to follow, which leads to a very impersonal experience.
  14. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    i use the suicide hotline here in ireland. they don't have a script, and they are staffed by mental health professionals (not volunteers).

    just 'cos they don't know you, doesn't mean they don't care about you or the struggle you are going through. if they really didn't care, i think they'd be in some other line of work. there's gotta be better jobs than talking to suicidal people all night. :)

    to the OP - only you will know if it's something that works for you.

    to everyone else - it's only one weapon in the overall arsenal in this fight against depression and feeling suicidal. if it works, keep using it. if it doesn't, find something else. if you've never called, what do you have to lose by calling? why not try it and then you'll know.

  15. I'm sure that some of them care, but it's no guarantee. Some might actually be spiteful and mean toward callers, as evidenced by various posts about the subject, which I've read throughout SF.
  16. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    I don't think any suicide hotline worker means to be spiteful etc - if they did then, as Caroline said, they wouldn't be in the job. I think that if your expectations differ from what the service hopes to provide, then you're not going to come away satisfied.

    An example: I volunteer for the Samaritans, and I had a call from someone who was very irate that I couldn't sit there and converse with them, about XYZ topic. My response was, was that we're simply here to listen, and to talk about the callers feelings. No more, no less.
    I've also had people on here tell me that Samaritans / suicide hotlines etc, aren't any good... well, they are (IMO), but it does depend on what you're looking for, from them.
  17. I figure that it also depends on who you talk with at the suicide hotlines. Personally, if I need support, I'd rather talk with someone on SF or MSN.
  18. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    I'd say it depends on what sort of support you want, as well.
  19. touglytobeloved

    touglytobeloved Well-Known Member

    Ist always easier to write, and its harder to talk about this kind of problems. But if you think that somehow they can help you, why not to call them? You have nothing to loose.
  20. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    I dunno. There are plenty of people who talk to suicidal people all night for free here at SF. I'd therefore imagine there are people here who'd jump at the chance to get paid to do it. Would they be much help to a depressed stranger? Judging from the number of people around here to go skipping off happily after hanging out here, I doubt it.
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