Year: 2023 Source: Community Mental Health Journal. (2023). SIEC No: 20231321
Crisis line volunteers are critical to nationwide suicide prevention efforts as they provide free support services to those experiencing emotional distress or suicidality. Most crisis lines rely on volunteers for call-taking, however, the experiences of these volunteers and the impact of call-taking on their mental wellbeing remains understudied. The current study aimed to explore mental wellbeing and resilience in suicide prevention crisis line volunteers. In a longitudinal study among 20 volunteers of a suicide prevention crisis line, participants completed a series of three surveys at baseline, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up, measuring mental wellbeing, resilience, support, help-seeking, and other related personal and professional factors, including compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. Results indicated that self-rated mental health was positively associated with willingness to seek help for an emotional problem from a doctor. Additionally, social support was negatively associated with burnout, but positively associated with compassion satisfaction. Finally, preparedness was negatively associated with secondary traumatic stress, while seeking help for an emotional problem or suicidality from a parent were both positively associated with secondary traumatic stress. Crisis line volunteers rated their mental health and compassion satisfaction highly and reported low levels of burnout and secondary traumatic stress. The role of social support and preparedness for call-taking deserve further investigation by researchers and crisis call centers as they may be critical to responders’ wellbeing.