She Was There When He Needed a Lifeline

Published: September 6, 2019

Just after 3:00 am on a Saturday morning, the Crisis and Suicide Hotline phone rings. Startled from sleep, a trained volunteer Crisis Line Intervention Specialist (CLIS) quickly grabs her phone. On the line is Maurice, who confides that he’s feeling overwhelmed. Despite a successful career and stable marriage, he’s finding it increasingly difficult to suppress many years of pent-up emotions from significant trauma in his childhood. Right now, Maurice can feel the anger bubbling to the surface, but he quickly suppresses it. He recognizes that this inner turmoil is causing him to withdraw from others and isolate himself, so his personal relationships are suffering. He doesn’t know how much longer he can handle this.

Clearly hearing the tension in Maurice’s voice, the CLIS begins by guiding him through a few deep-breathing exercises. Then, together, they begin exploring some possible counseling resources where he can get help addressing his childhood trauma. Maurice shares that he had recently scheduled an appointment with a counselor, but then had to cancel it because the deductible of his medical insurance made it unaffordable. He also confides that he fears becoming emotional during the counseling---a frequent reason that men avoid seeking mental health care.

The CLIS allows Maurice to talk through his reservations about counseling, listening carefully and reflectively. She encourages him to prepare lists of all his questions and feelings--everything he wants to say but is afraid to, including what he has been sharing in this call. She provides the name of an affordable counseling agency, and encourages Maurice to ask his employer if they offer an Employee Assistance Program.

Maurice agrees; he’s willing to call the counseling agency, and tells the CLIS he may also call his physician to check on the potential for medication. He says he was on a medication as a teenager but only took it for a couple of months because he didn't like the way it made him feel and didn’t understand what questions to ask. He adds that his wife is supportive and will be glad to hear he's going to seek help.

Maurice thanks the CLIS for acknowledging and affirming his courage to call the Crisis Line. “You said it when you told me I wouldn't be judged but would be heard and respected. You've helped me have courage to call and make an appointment.”

Despite the lateness of the hour and the emotional impact of the experience, the CLIS smiles, enjoying the deep satisfaction that comes from being a lifeline for a person in crisis, offering a listening ear and the reassurance that someone cares.

Would you like to be a lifeline for someone in crisis? As a trained volunteer Crisis Line Intervention Specialist, you will know the deep satisfaction of making a difference, just by being a listening ear. Calls are taken from the comfort of your home. All you have to do is care---we will teach you the rest! 

 Learn more about volunteering for the Crisis and Suicide Hotline here.