There can be a lot of misunderstanding around what actually happens when you call a mental health crisis line. Some people might be intimidated or afraid to call for fear that the call isn’t actually confidential or that it will immediately result in a call to the police—but this is far from the truth.

So, what’s the reality?

After you dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988 or 1-800-273-8255)…

  1. You’ll hear an automated greeting with additional information and options. A person does not come on the line immediately.
  2. Your call will often be routed to your local crisis center. Wait times are usually less than one minute, but they can be longer depending on availability.
  3. A trained, caring, local crisis counselor will answer your call.
  4. You can start the conversation however you want—and it can last as long or short as you’d like.
  5. If you’re calling about a friend or family member you’re concerned about, the counselor will walk you through how to help and offer resources.
  6. In higher-risk situations, such as having suicidal thoughts or actively considering suicide, crisis workers will do everything they can to work with the caller to come up with a safety plan without an intervention.
  7. In rare cases, the crisis worker might need to alert the local police to ensure the caller’s safety—but less than 3% of calls require intervention.

On the other end of a crisis line call are real, caring people ready to help you work through whatever support you need, 24/7, whether you’re in crisis or just need someone to talk to. They will listen to you, provide support and help you find or access local resources – and with the launch of 988, quick access to mental health support is made even easier.

Please don’t be afraid to reach out if you need support. There are #ZeroReasonsWhy you should have to struggle alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline dial 988 or 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line text HOME to 741741
The Trevor Project call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678
Trans Lifeline call 1-877-565-8860

Source: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline