“Sometimes it helps to just know that someone is listening, that you never have to be alone”
Lifeline , Australia
For trauma survivors in particular, the following guidelines may help when contacting a hotline:
- Please remember this is a support line, not therapy.
- Please be clear and honest with your feelings and don’t assume the volunteer can mind-read e.g. I’m feeling all alone, nobody sees me or hears me. I just need to be heard.
- Please assume goodwill, that the volunteer is sincerely trying to help. If feeling angry or frustrated, please say so, but don’t vent your anger and frustration on the volunteer.
- Be realistic about what to expect from the volunteer – they are not going to rescue or try to save you, nor is it their job to do so.
- For ritual abuse survivors in particular, you can ask if the volunteer understands ritual abuse, if not, ask if it would it be possible to speak to someone who does. If that is not possible, ask the volunteer could they listen to your feelings.
- When talking about suicidal feelings, please be really clear where you are in your process, if it’s feelings, please let the volunteer know all you need is to be heard.
- If you are having active suicidal urges, please say so and you will get a different kind of help from the volunteer.
Finding a Hotline
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States): 1 (800) 273-8255 | suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (United States) | 1 (800) 656-4673 | https://ohl.rainn.org/online/
- Suggested online search engine phrase: Crisis Hotline for [specify the topic]