Helplines and listening services

Many national and local organisations run helplines that you can call in a crisis. Talking to a trained listener could give you some support and help you make sense of what’s happening for you.

When should I use a helpline or listening service?

If you’re struggling with difficult feelings and need to talk to someone quickly, including if you’re not ready or able to access other types of support.

How could they help me?

By letting you talk through your feelings and experiences without judging you or telling you what to do. Many listening services let you talk through your problems for as long as you need.

Before calling a helpline, you might want to consider:

– What times are they open?

– Is it free to call or is there a cost involved?

– Is what you say confidential? For example, many services have policies on what to do if someone says they have attempted suicide or are actively planning to.

– What will you do if the line is busy? It’s often worth trying several times, or you might plan to call back later or try a different service.

You might be able to find this information on the organisation’s website, or you could ask the advisor to explain their policies during the call.

Who can I contact?

If you can’t talk on the phone

As well as phone numbers to call, some organisations routinely offer support in other ways – which could include emails, text messages or web chat. Or you might need to make a specific request:

  • If you have difficulty hearing or speaking, it might help to use the Next Generation Text Service (NGTS) Typetalk/Text Relay app on a mobile device or computer.
  • If you need a translator or British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, you could ask the organisation if they provide a translation service and if it costs anything to use.

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