Conducting research in crisis helpline settings: Common challenges and proposed solutions

In this editorial the editors argue that researchers in crisis helpline settings should consider evolving theoretical understandings of suicidality when selecting outcome measures, and that increased consistency across studies in outcome measurement is needed. Using an upcoming crisis helpline study as an example, the editors offer solutions to common challenges in randomized controlled trial (RCT) […]

Youth crisis hotlines: Merging best practice suicide prevention with a system of care (IN: Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention, edited by J.P. Ackerman & L.M. Horowitz)

In the USA, crisis hotlines, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, have become a valued resource for individuals experiencing a suicidal crisis. Often staffed by trained counselors, crisis hotlines can provide immediate support and can help to identify a caller’s problem and potential solutions, ensure the caller’s safety, and connect them with appropriate resources. […]

Help-seeker expectations and outcomes of a crisis support service: Comparison of suicide-related and non-suicide- related contacts to lifeline Australia

Lifeline Australia aims to prevent suicide and support community members in personal crisis via the provision of free anonymous telephone, online chat and text message services. This study aimed to identify the expectations and outcomes of Lifeline help-seekers, including whether there are differences between suicide-related and non-suicide-related contacts. Help-seekers (N = 553) who had previously contacted Lifeline […]

A systematic review of user expectations and outcomes of crisis support services

Background: Crisis support services play an important role in providing free, immediate access to support people in the community experiencing a personal crisis. Recently, services have expanded from telephone to digital modalities including online chat and text message services. This raises the question of what outcomes are being achieved for increasingly diverse service users across different […]

Evaluation of outcomes for help seekers accessing a pilot SMS-based crisis intervention service in Australia

Background: In July 2018, Lifeline Australia launched Australia’s first short message service (SMS) crisis support service. Lifeline Text aims to reduce psychological distress and increase coping and social connectedness among help seekers, particularly those who prefer text-based communication. Aims: We aimed to independently evaluate the pilot SMS service over a 240-day period. Method: The service evaluation used operational data, pre […]

Characteristics and perceptions of sexual and gender minority youth who utilized a national sexual and gender minority-focused crisis service

Background: Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) have heightened risk of suicidality; yet, we know little about their experiences when utilizing crisis services. Aims: The purpose of this study was to understand the characteristics and experiences of SGMY when in contact with SGMY-specific suicide crisis services. Method: Data were from 592 SGMY who contacted the most widely utilized national US […]

Suicide exposure in crisis workers

Background: Crisis workers provide services to individuals who are in acute distress. There is no research examining personal and occupational exposure to suicide in these workers. Aims: We aimed to examine the prevalence of personal, occupational, and colleague suicide exposure among crisis workers, the mental health outcomes associated with suicide exposures, and perceived professional preparedness for client suicide. Method: Crisis […]

Association of Logic’s hip hop song “1-800-273-8255” with Lifeline calls and suicides in the United States: Interrupted time series analysis

OBJECTIVE To assess changes in daily call volumes to the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and in suicides during periods of wide scale public attention to the song “1-800-273-8255” by American hip hop artist Logic. DESIGN Time series analysis. SETTING United States, 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2018. PARTICIPANTS Total US population. Lifeline calls […]

The role of self-compassion in the job demands-resources model: an explorative study among crisis line volunteers

The job demands-resources (JD-R) model has hardly been studied in volunteer organizations and there is a scarcity of studies evaluating self-compassion as a personal resource within the JD-R model. The present study addresses these gaps in current knowledge, first by examining the applicability of the JD-R model in a crisis line volunteer organization. Second, self-compassion […]

Trends in reasons for emergency calls during the COVID-19 crisis in the department of Gironde, France using artificial neural network for natural language classification

Objectives During periods such as the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need for responsive public health surveillance indicators in order to monitor both the epidemic growth and potential public health consequences of preventative measures such as lockdown. We assessed whether the automatic classification of the content of calls to emergency medical communication centers could provide […]

Videoconferencing needed in suicide prevention hotlines

Recently, the United States Congress has recognized the importance of suicide prevention in passing the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (PL 116-172). The law designated “9-8-8” as the national three-digit telephone number for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis Line, to make it easier to dial potentially life-saving help. The […]

Considerations for implementing a three-digit suicide prevention number in Canada: Policy brief

The purpose of this policy brief is to outline considerations for implementing a three-digit suicide prevention number in Canada. It reviews several relevant international contexts; specifically, the implementation of a three-digit suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline (988) in the United States (U.S.) and the recently approved 113 number in the Netherlands. In addition, […]

A systematic review of user expectations and outcomes of crisis support services

Background: Crisis support services play an important role in providing free, immediate access to support people in the community experiencing a personal crisis. Recently, services have expanded from telephone to digital modalities including online chat and text message services. This raises the question of what outcomes are being achieved for increasingly diverse service users across […]

The impact of telephone crisis services on suicidal users: A systematic review of the past 45 years

Purpose: Telephone crisis services are increasingly subject to a requirement to “prove their worth” as a suicide prevention strategy. The purpose of this paper is to: first, provide a detailed overview of the evidence on the impact of telephone crisis services on suicidal users; second, determine the limitations of the outcome measures used in this […]

Suicide exposure in crisis workers

Background: Crisis workers provide services to individuals who are in acute distress. There is no research examining personal and occupational exposure to suicide in these workers. Aims: We aimed to examine the prevalence of personal, occupational, and colleague suicide exposure among crisis workers, the mental health outcomes associated with suicide exposures, and perceived professional preparedness for client suicide. Method: Crisis […]

Content-based recommender support system for counselors in a suicide prevention chat helpline: Design and evaluation study

Background: The working environment of a suicide prevention helpline requires high emotional and cognitive awareness from chat counselors. A shared opinion among counselors is that as a chat conversation becomes more difficult, it takes more effort and a longer amount of time to compose a response, which, in turn, can lead to writer’s block. Objective: This […]

The third choice: Suicide hotlines, psychiatry, and the police

With Covid-19 showing no sign of abating, mental health care (from ongoing therapy to helplines) continues to be an important site of treatment for many Americans. While traditional therapy has continued to be prohibitively expensive for most, teletherapy has been covered by most major health insurance companies since the early days of the pandemic and is […]

Preventing suicide: A resource for establishing a crisis line

Improved community detection, intervention in and management of suicidal behaviour are critical to preventing suicide. Crisis lines emerged in the 1950s with the advent of the home telephone in high-income countries and are now available in almost all countries of the world in one form or another (see Annex 1 for a short history of […]

Is there a need for LGBT-specific suicide crisis services?

Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Although LGBT-specific crisis services have been developed, little is known about the need for these services beyond that of general lifeline services. Aims: The present study sought to (a) describe the primary reasons for calling a specialized provider […]

Telephone crisis support workers’ intentions to use recommended skills while experiencing functional impairment

Background: Empathic engagement with distressed others can lead to elevated symptoms of psychological distress and functional impairment, which preclude helping professionals’ delivery of optimal patient care. Whether telephone crisis support workers are impacted in a similar way is not currently reported in the literature. Aims: This study examined the relationship between functional impairment and intentions to use […]

Undergraduate students’ exposure, knowledge, utilization, and intended use of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Background: Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students. Crisis hotlines play a role in linking suicidal individuals to help. Despite leading to favorable outcomes, low utilization of crisis outlines has been reported. Aims: To explore exposure, knowledge, and utilization of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) among a sample of university students; to determine […]

Telephone crisis support workers’ psychological distress and impairment: A systematic review

Background: In order to respond to crises with appropriate intervention, crisis workers are required to manage their own needs as well as the needs of those they respond to. Aims: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to examine whether telephone crisis support workers experience elevated symptoms of psychological distress and are impaired by elevated symptoms. Method: Studies […]

Exploring the use of telephone helpline pertaining to older adult suicide prevention: A Hong Kong experience.

BACKGROUND: Older adults usually have a higher suicide rate than the general population. There are helpline services provided to older adults but limited studies have examined the suicidal risks among the users, and how those services could be used as a platform to engage older adults in suicide prevention. METHODS: In regard to elderly suicide […]