Year: 2019 Source: Crisis. (2019), 40(5), 340-346. SIEC No: 20190752

Background: Volunteer crisis line responders are a valuable resource for suicide prevention crisis lines worldwide. Aim: The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how volunteers operating a diaconal crisis line in Norway experienced challenges and how these challenges were met. Method: A qualitative, explorative study was conducted. A total of 27 volunteers were interviewed through four focus groups. The material was analyzed using systematic text condensation. Results: The greatest challenge to the volunteers was the perception of a gap between their expectations and the practice field. The experience of many volunteers was that the crisis line primarily served a broad ongoing support function for loneliness or mental illness concerns, rather than a suicide prevention crisis intervention function. Limitations: The focus group design may have made the participants more reluctant to share experiences representing alternative perspectives or personally sensitive information. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that a uniform response to callers using crisis lines as a source of ongoing support is warranted and should be implemented in volunteer training programs.