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Warmlines vs. Hotlines - Receiving Help Before a Crisis

Posted by Brian Spence on Jan 20, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Hotline, Mental HealthMany people are aware of the function of mental health hotlines, which often come into play when a person is in crisis and feels the need for immediate help from someone who can listen with a compassionate ear. In many communities however, a newer trend is the implementation of community "warmlines". This type of mental health outreach can help in situations where a person may not necessarily be experiencing a (suicidal) crisis, but still feel a need to talk to someone in a private and confidential manner.

How Warmlines Help the Community

Some people may not have the financial resources for counseling or they simply feel uncomfortable with the idea of scheduling a series of appointments with a trained counselor. Still, they may be experiencing a reoccurring urge to seek out a listening ear for emotional support. The issues they are dealing with encompass a wide range of issues, such as feeling the need to vent after an argument with a spouse, feeling lonely around the holidays or the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or confusion about what to do with their life after a job loss or divorce.

While none of these issues may necessarily represent a suicidal crisis situation, having someone on the other end of a warmline who listens, offers support and encouragement, and perhaps make some suggestions on how to resolve personal issues may be just the right amount of help a person needs.

Warmline Methodology and Goals

Warmlines are typically free to use, confidential, and staffed with both volunteers and people who have experienced emotional/mental health issues themselves. As with every other 21st century type of social outreach, warmlines also take advantage of flexible technologies such as instant messaging and mobile phones to provide round-the-clock coverage to those in need.

Ultimately, the purpose of establishing warmlines in a community is to offer the emotional support some community members need in order to prevent a personal issue from turning into a full-blown crisis.

If you would like to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Mental Health section of our blog.

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