A help line is a service which provides listening and emotional support to anyone in distress, in an individual, family or psycho-social crisis, who is asking for support, and could be feeling lonely, isolated, unhappy, frightened, worried, in shock or suicidal.
Services should be urgent, non-judgmental, empathetic, respectful, caring and provided by trained volunteers or staff.
They can offer access to emotional support in a number of ways
All hotline centres offer this availability by telephone and some by e-mail and face-to-face contact.
Heplines provide emotional support on 3 levels:
Some services provide ‘post-disaster support’ in response to natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding damage or earthquakes. In some contexts centres may also feel it necessary to have plans in place for possible man-made disasters such as railway/road crashes, fires, bombings and other such incidents.