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What a 24-Hour Free Counseling Hotline Can Help You With

A 24-hour hotline can help those who are in crisis or those who need someone to talk to as soon as possible. Even in a world where most try to communicate through the Internet, there is still a place for these hotlines. Let’s take a look at what therapy services a 24-hour hotline can give you and which ones to call.

What Are These Hotlines?

Online therapy has been rising in popularity, offering you different types of counseling remotely. However, one form of remote therapy that has been around for a while is a 24-hour hotline, or a crisis hotline.

These are numbers, usually toll-free, that can help those in need. When you cannot or don’t want to talk at home, many of these hotlines also have texting services as well.

When you think of a crisis hotline, you may imagine a suicide hotline, which you’re supposed to talk to when you’re feeling like taking your life. However, suicide hotlines are not the only services offered by crisis hotlines. These numbers can help you other issues you’d expect out of free counseling.

The People There Are Typically Not Therapists

The people who staff these hotlines are trained to listen, give advice, and provide you with resources needed for your problems, but they are usually not licensed therapists. However, they are educated, trained, and can help connect you to other trained professionals. They are specially trained in active listening, where they listen along and offer advice without seeming to talk over you.

What to Expect Out of a Call

When you call them, you may have to wait a little bit. Most hotlines, especially those that deal with time-sensitive subjects like suicide, try to make the wait as short as possible, but times can vary depending on the volume and whether or not you’re calling during peak hours.

The person on the hotline is usually calm under pressure and allows you to talk about your problem. Then, they will help you find the solutions you need. They’re designed to help you feel as safe as possible, and you’re usually the one talking. The hotline person may ask a couple of questions to help you, but otherwise, you’re doing most of the input.

Depending on the severity of your problem, they may give you a plan to escape safely, or help you get emergency assistance. If you’re a danger to yourself or others, authorities may get involved, but otherwise, the conversation you have is between you and them.

How They Can Help You

As we mentioned before, most people who talk on a hotline aren’t therapists. If you want a long-term solution, find the help of a trained therapist or counselor. However, hotline staff are still quite helpful.

Here are some of their services.

They’re Someone Who Will Listen

Quite often, it’s hard for us to find an active listener in our lives. We may have people who will listen, but they may talk over us or they may not be educated in our problems. Or, you may be afraid of being judged. A crisis hotline staff isn’t any of those things.

Create an Action Plan

This is a plan created to help you immediately. For example, if you feel suicidal, an action plan or crisis plan can help stop those feelings. It may include going to an emergency room, seeking help eventually, and finding someone to talk to as soon as possible. It’s usually meant as a short-term solution while you seek long-term help.

Give You Resources

A crisis hotline can refer you to therapists and counselors in the area who can help you with whichever problems you have. Depending on where you live, the resources they provide can be useful, or you may need to look somewhere else. For instance, if you live in a rural area.

They Can Contact Authorities

As mentioned before, a crisis hotline worker will contact the authorities if you’re a danger to yourself or another person. If you are, the worker will try to keep you on the phone until the proper authorities get there.

What They Can Help With

A 24-hour hotline is mostly due to an extreme crisis that you need immediate help with. Usually, that is thoughts of self-harm or suicide, but it can also be due to extreme grief or something else that you need help with. For example, a massive panic attack.

Limitations of Crisis Hotlines

Crisis hotlines are helpful, but they do have their limits. For instance, they are usually not run by people who are therapists, and ongoing therapy is not doable. You need to find a therapist who can help you. A hotline is just there for immediate relief.

While a hotline worker can point you in the direction of a therapist, they do not guarantee that the therapist can help you. Sometimes, the therapy office is booked, and other times, the type of therapy they have may not be a good fit for you.

Also, a hotline cannot book any of these services for you. This is something that you have to do yourself. If you have extreme depression, this can be difficult, but a hotline staff may help to assist you as you make the appointment.

Some Hotlines to Help You

Here are some hotlines you can call if you need someone to talk to.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call them at 1-800-273-8255. In addition, you can visit thehotline.org for resources and to chat with a staff member.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Call them at 1-800-799-7233 if you are coping with domestic violence or know someone who is. They can connect you with resources and help you develop a plan to leave the house.

Warmlines

If you’re not in any immediate danger, why not try Warmlines? This is where peers can help to give you advice and be an active listener to you. Visit their website, warmline.org, for numbers, as they do vary by state.

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