According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are around 1 million suicides every year, and for every suicide, there are approximately 20 attempted suicides. There are also many others who may not be suicidal, but urgently need access to appropriate emotional support services.
Helplines work worldwide to provide emotional support and to reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress, without judging them or telling them what to do.
Listening to people who are lonely, despairing or considering suicide can make the difference between life and death. People who feel suicidal are often so focused on a particular problem or pain that they find it difficult to see a way forward. Talking openly to a listener of a helpline, in a safe and confidential environment, can help.
Many callers, in fact, prefer to deal initially with an anonymous and confidential listener rather than with a professional counsellor. Helplines are available whenever a caller feels a need to communicate, with no delay waiting for an appointment, few time restrictions, and no fees.
Helplines provide a valuable service, reducing the load on professional crisis services, while improving the quality of life for members of our society.
The listening centres also play a crucial role in reducing the number of people who develop serious mental health problems and in eliminating stigma associated with mental or emotional problems.