Having a list of hotlines and urgent-support numbers is a great way to be poised to help anyone – a child whom you suspect is suffering, or an adult dangerously tempted by suicide, or a teen who’s run away.
We compiled reputable help- and hotlines, checked connections and phone numbers, and posted them in June 2020.
Please bookmark this page > SPIRIT FIRE HOTLINES LIST.
Do you know what a cry for help sounds like?
Often, on Twitter, I watch a person ask for “Catholic Twitter” to pray for them because they’re at the end of their rope and afraid what they might do. People promise to pray, and a few offer a good word of encouragement as well. Among 20 or 30 or 70 replies, I never have seen someone offer the suicide prevention hotline (although I do whenever I see this request.)
Please be mindful that even requests for prayer might be a cry for help. Of course we pray for others in need, but to do nothing more is irresponsible. People crying for help often are unable to express their dire need directly – to you or even to themselves. When in crisis, we all get confused and less confident. We can withdraw into shame or deep into defended, hidden places. We are least likely to do exactly what we need to do most: to ask for help from others.
Being a Friend
Listening without judgment is really wonderful help, but when people are in crisis one person, one friend is seldom enough. You can even get in over your hand faster than expected.
When you offer hotlines and some basic facts about them, you are giving someone not just the contact information but also permission to seek help.
You can hand this list printed out, or send the link. Or, you could also talk through with your friend which one may help them the most. Everything you say and do shows your friend that there is no shame in simply calling and trying to see if there are options.
If your friend will not call, you can call to ask for suggestions – and support. Hotlines are set up to help friends and family as well as the person suffering.
The people who staff hotlines often have first-person experience of what your friend is facing. They are also trained to listen and understand what is driving desperation and other feelings and empowered to help your friend find practical help and relief.
Hours & Languages
Most of the hotlines we’ve listed are 24/7/365. Most have sufficient staff to be able to speak up to 200 different languages – that is, also to be sensitive to many cultural variations in coping with crisis. These are things even the best friend cannot offer.
Hotlines are free and confidential. They are not law enforcement (except for the few specified as such.) You aren’t leading a friend into exposure or more pain. These are safe exchanges people who will be as kind and affirming as you – but more skilled and knowledgeable on practical matters.
Refer your friend, but don’t delegate your friend. Stay in touch. Be sure to pray for someone. Be sure they do not languish in isolation or in a place that resists care, too.
Don’t forget. Bookmark the hotlines page. And, take a moment to share it with friends using the share button. The more people know this range of hotlines exists, the more often people who can benefit from hotlines and helplines will find their way into the confidential, trained, and kind care of these organizations.