Year: 2016 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.(2016). 46(5):577-587. SIEC No: 20160632

Research since the 1960s has consistently found that lay volunteers are better at helping suicidal callers than professionals. Yet, professional degrees are increasingly becoming requirements for helpline workers. In our first study, we conducted post hoc comparisons of U.S. helplines with all professional paid staff, all lay volunteers, and a mix of both, using silent monitoring and standardized assessments of 1,431 calls. The volunteer centers more often conducted risk assessments, had more empathy, were more respectful of callers, and had signifi- cantly better call outcome ratings. A second study of five Quebec suicide prevention centers used silent monitoring to compare telephone help in 1,206 calls answered by 90 volunteers and 39 paid staff. Results indicate no significant differences between the volunteers and paid employees on outcome variables

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