We all get depressed from time to time. Things happen and we feel down. Sometimes the weather can affect our mood. Dealing with life can affect our moods. That doesn’t mean we have to live like that. Sometimes all we need is a quick fix, a good night with friends or a good massage. Other times we can’t seem to shake the mood. It is dark and lonely. We isolate ourselves and make it worse. When you get to that point, it feels hopeless. You can’t see the sunshine anymore. It can feel like there is no positivity left. Therefore, the suicide hotline was established. Let’s talk about what to expect when you make that call.
Who established the suicide hotline?
There is a program called the lifeline program. Its sole purpose it helps others find comfort, resources, and a listening ear. It is funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Suicide rates are higher than ever. They have been steadily rising in 2005. There are over 160 connected crisis centers that answer the call center across the nation. Not only do they offer emotional support, but they also offer resources to help people find long-term help.
Who answers the call?
The first part of the suicide hotline is automated. You will get a message that asks you to choose your language. Then you will be asked if you are a veteran. This is how you will be directed to someone to help you. There are veterans that are signed up to help other veterans deal with the situations that they were in. Veterans are trained to help with the emotional situations that are unique to them. Across America, there are call centers dedicated to the emotional support of our veterans.
All other callers are sent to crisis centers established to problem-solve issues that you face. These crisis centers use trained counselors, volunteers, and professionals to answer the calls. There is an overflow center for high volume situations.
How long does a call take?
Most calls are answered within thirty seconds. There are times when you may have to wait a little longer, but no more than five minutes. From there, the rest is up to you. There will be someone to talk to you for as long as you need it. They will asses your needs, offer advice, or just listen for as long as it takes for you to feel safe. It can be hard when you are dealing with your own head, which is why they will help you to sort through your thoughts until you can make sense of how you feel.
What happens during the call?
The very first thing that they will do is assess the situation. They will decide if you are an immediate danger to yourself. If you are at immediate risk, they will call for help. They will talk to you while you wait for help to arrive. If you have harmed yourself, they will talk to you and keep you calm. This is not the common thing to do. In fact, only about 20% of all calls are emergencies in need of immediate attention.
As you talk, you will be able to get down to what is really bothering you. You have the freedom to talk as you would like. Be open and honest. There is no judgment. This is a safe zone where you can be yourself. You will be asked questions designed to help you figure out how to adjust your mood. You will also be able to determine if you need to get long term help. You may also be able to establish a safety plan.
Also, you will be made aware of the resources in your area to help you. From food to counseling, there may be more resources available than you might think. If your facing depression due to a loss, you may be connected to a grief consoler. There are many ways that you will be helped.
What is a safety plan?
A safety plan will help you to recognize all your warning signs. You will notice changes in your pattern or routine. You will also be helped to see the situations that you are in. If you put yourself into situations that trigger your depression or cause you to self-harm, you will have to learn how to avoid these situations.
You will learn how coping skills can help. You will be given a list of coping skills so that you can find what works for you. You will be asked to make a list of people that you can call to talk to. These should be people that you know that you can count on. People who will earnestly listen and try to help you pull yourself out of your mood.
You will also learn about agencies in your area that can help you to get professional help. You can find doctors to give you appointments regularly. You will be able to get assessed to see if you need medications. All of your options will be made available so that you don’t feel hopeless or alone.
Who can call the suicide hotline?
The suicide prevention hotline is designed to give hope, comfort, and resources to anyone dealing with thoughts of self-harm. They also offer solutions for helping someone that you love to deal with depression. If you are worried about someone you love harming themselves, you can call them. They will walk you through how to speak to them, where to find resources for them, and how to talk them into taking advantage of the resources.
Most people will not act on their suicidal thoughts, thankfully. It can be scary to go through. However, with the right conversation, you can get through it and feel confident again. There is help out there. You are not alone. If you need a boost, reassurance, and know that your life is worth it, make the call. There is no reason to feel like your life doesn’t matter.