Advocacy – Safe Hotlines for Crisis Callers

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#SafeHotlines for Crisis Callers

Most crisis hotlines in the U.S. use nonconsensual intervention, usually with police if they determine a caller is an “imminent risk.”

Research has shown these nonconsensual interventions actually increase rates of suicidality. This decreases trust in crisis hotlines.

These interventions often cause more short- and long-term trauma, disproportionately to people of color, trans people, minors, undocumented people, and people living with mental health disabilities.

Every year, dozens of these interactions turn fatal.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith - photo by Tristan Crane

Nonconsensual police, first responder, and psychiatric interventions can be particularly harmful to trans people.

Most crisis hotlines employ nonconsensual emergency responder interventions people in crisis are presumed to be experiencing “imminent risk” of suicide. Most callers aren’t told this clearly. While intended as a last resort, in practice it is too readily used, causing several unintended harmful consequences.

Crisis Callers’ Bill of Rights

We want to live in a world where we can trust that the help we seek during a crisis will be supportive, not harmful.

We deserve hotlines that center our safety, agency, and have transparent policies. We should not be hurt, criminalized, deported, or forced into treatment we don’t consent to.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith - photo by Tristan Crane
Gwendolyn Ann Smith - photo by Tristan Crane

Survivor Stories and Solutions

Have you called a crisis hotline and experienced harm from an intervention that happened because of that call? You’re not alone. Many people have survived harm from interventions on crisis calls from police, emergency rooms, psych hospitals, jails, and more.

Survivors are the experts on what support is actually helpful during mental health crises, and survivors guide this campaign. Join us by sharing your lived experience and expertise to build #SafeHotlines for all, and select opportunities you’re interested in contributing to.

In the News

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Trans Lifeline Blog Logo

Let’s work together to make #SafeHotlines
for all Crisis Callers