The National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (784.2433) is not a “new” hotline. It simply brings the tremendous knowledge, skill and resources of existing crisis centers under the safety net of a single, easy-to-remember, toll-free telephone number. People in crisis generally don’t have the energy or ability to take on a long search for help. The Hopeline Network helps make appropriate, critical services available to all.
The Network uses ANI, an automatic number identification system, to connect callers – people who are depressed or suicidal, or those who are concerned about someone else – automatically to an American Association of Suicidology (AAS) or CONTACT USA certified crisis center nearest to where the call is placed. In the event that the nearest crisis center is at maximum volume, the call is seamlessly rerouted to the next closest center.
Trained crisis line workers answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People in crisis who call 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433) usually reach a trained crisis line worker within two to three rings, or about 20 to 30 seconds, from the moment they dial the number. Once the caller is engaged, a lethality assessment is done. Those who are not highly lethal are referred to locally available resources once their reason for calling the crisis center has been deescalated.
If this person is highly lethal, the decision for intervention is made by the on-call supervisor. Help can be dispatched quickly. Every attempt is made to gain the caller’s permission to receive help as a way to reduce the impact intervention can have. The Hope Center advocates intervention whenever a person’s life is at stake. One such intervention occurred in Los Angeles, where a teenage girl who had taken an overdose of pills and slashed her wrists called 1.800 SUICIDE in a last ditch effort to save her life. The crisis center dispatched an ambulance, and the young woman was saved.
The National Hopeline Network is helping to save lives.