What to Expect When You Contact A Crisis Hotline
Every contact to a Hotline is unique. Some callers identify as in crisis, some as abusers, and some as concerned family members and friends seeking help for someone else. While every contact is specific to the individual, here are some phrases and questions that advocates use consistently to best help each caller or chatter.
“Thanks for reaching out.”
You might feel anxious about contacting The Hotline, especially if you haven’t reached out for help before. We are completely confidential and anonymous, and our advocates have extensive training in issues related to domestic violence. Reaching out for help is the first step toward improving your situation, whatever that may be, and we are glad to be of service when someone takes this important step.
“Are you in a safe place to chat?”
It’s critical for your safety that you reach out when your abuser is not around, whenever that is possible. If your abuser does come home or walk in while you’re talking with an advocate, immediately disconnect the call. Because abusive relationships are based on power and control, an abuser is likely to react in anger as you take steps to regain control. Another way to stay safe is to remember to delete the crisis number from your phone and clear your internet browser history after visiting the website.
“Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your situation?”
Before an advocate can begin helping you, they need to know your specific situation. This gives you an opportunity to bring up any concerns you’ve had. Sometimes, giving a relationship timeline or explaining a recent altercation can give the advocate a better idea about what you’ve experienced.
“What have you considered doing at this point?”
You are the expert of your own situation. Callers reach out at all different times, so advocates need to know what steps you’re ready to take before they can help you find resources. While an advocate won’t give explicit advice on what you should do next, you can talk about some options to make the best decision for yourself.
“How are you taking care of yourself?”
Self-care is important. If you are in an abusive relationship, it is easy to forget about caring for yourself. Taking care of yourself may be as simple as eating a good breakfast to prepare for the day or getting enough sleep at night. Advocates often suggest writing in a journal, reading a good book or taking a bubble bath to ease your mind.
“Let’s brainstorm together.”
There is always more than one right answer and an advocate can help you sort through the options to determine the best one for you.
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Maybe over the course of your conversation with an advocate you thought of another question, or maybe you feel more comfortable asking something you were scared to ask before. Advocates are always available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Crisis intervention Numbers
National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
National Domestic Abuse 1-800-799-7233
Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.
The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
LGBT National Hotline 1- 888-843-4564
We provide a safe space that is anonymous and confidential where callers can speak on many different issues and concerns including, but limited to, coming out issues, gender and/or sexuality identities, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety, safer sex information, suicide, and much more.