crisis helplines

What to Expect When Calling a Helpline

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Calling a helpline

A closer look into what to expect when calling a helpline

Why should I call a helpline?

Talking in real-time to a trained counselor or volunteer provides you with immediate support and allows counselors to easily connect you with additional places to get help. If you’re feeling nervous about calling, that’s okay. It can be scary to pick up the phone, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

If you’re facing a serious issue or worried for your safety, we encourage you to contact crisis helplines, such as:

  • Lines for Life: Suicide LifeLine - For those going through crisis and those concerned for them

    • Call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7/365)

    • Text 273TALK to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • Lines for Life: Alcohol and Drug Helpline - For individuals and family members seeking crisis intervention, treatment referral, and chemical-dependency information

    • Call 1-800-923-4357 (24/7/365)

    • Text RecoveryNow to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • Lines for Life: Military Helpline - Support for service members, veterans and their families

    • Call 1-888-457-4838 (24/7/365)

    • Text MIL1 to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • Lines for Life: Youthline - Support for youth in crisis or when needing help

    • Call 1-877-968-8491

    • Text teen2teen to 839863

    • Email at YouthL@LinesforLife.org

    • Chat online here

    • Teens are available to chat with you from 4pm-10pm PST daily, all other times are with adults

  • Your Life Your Voice - Trained counselors to talk to 24/7, ran by Boystown (for everyone)

    • Call 1-800-448-300

  • National Runaway Safeline - If you’ve run away from home

    • Call 1-800-RUNAWAY

  • The Trevor Project - If you’re struggling with LGBTQ challenges

    • Call 1-866-488-7386

  • RAINN -  If you’re struggling with sexual violence, like rape, abuse and incest

    • Call 1-800-656-HOPE

Common questions you might have

Who answers your call? When you call a helpline, a trained counselor will answer your calls. Many have a background in mental health or social work, but all volunteers receive training in crisis counseling and suicide intervention.

When should you call? You do not have to be in a serious crisis to call a helpline. Some people call simply to obtain information and referrals for local community services. Others call because they have something that’s on their mind that they want to talk over with someone outside of the current situation. Of course, if you are in a serious emotional crisis, they’re there for that too.

How can they help? Above all, the counselor who answers your call is there to listen.  Whether you’re feeling hopeless, angry or confused, counselors can help you process your feelings and assess your situation before working out what comes next.

Different helplines focus on different topics, but all will be able to provide support, information and referrals. Whatever your issue, your call will be answered by someone who will be supportive and non-judgmental, and who will try to understand exactly what you’re saying and how you’re feeling.

They want to help you stay safe, think through your situation or problem, explore your options, and to help you figure out what you want to do, if anything.

What types of questions will you be asked? A lot of help lines are designed to be anonymous and confidential. This means that while you may be asked to give your first name, you will not need to provide any additional identifying information like last names or addresses, etc. Many find that this anonymity helps them to feel more comfortable when answering personal questions about their situation.

Some sample questions you may be asked include:

  • Are you in a safe place to talk?

  • How can I help you today?

  • How old are you?

    • This helps counselors understand your eligibility for different types of services.

    • If you are a minor (legal definition varies from state to state) and have specific questions related to your age and the issue you’re experiencing the counselor can address those questions.  

  • Tell me a little about what happened that led you to call?

  • When you are upset, to whom do you usually go to for support?

  • Is there anyone else that you feel you can talk to about this situation?

  • How are you surviving, and do you need a safe place to go?

    • For those callers who express a need for safe shelter, counselors, like those at National Runaway Safeline, will need to know your city and state to begin locating an available safe shelter for you.

Why do they ask so many questions?

It‘s important for them to get a clear understanding of your situation and see it from your perspective. Remember, they don’t know you or anything about your life. They don’t ask questions to be nosy—they ask questions to find the source of your trouble and develop an action plan that makes you feel comfortable.

Regardless of age or location, these services are in place to provide support and assure your safety. Honesty about your situation will help counselors determine the best resources for you whether you’re dealing with LGBTQIA+ issues, child abuse, mental health struggles, etc.

Are there alternatives to calling?

Yes. We know some people may be more comfortable reaching out over the Internet, and many services also offer chat, email, online forum or text options.

You can also reach out to someone in person. Speaking to a trusted adult, teacher, school counselor, doctor, or another mental health professional is also a great option.

No matter how you reach out, the most important thing is getting help. You’re not alone!

Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com

Crisis Helplines: Oregon and Nationwide

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In a crisis?

Find your connection to crisis services in your county in Oregon or use a nationwide crisis line.

Calling a helpline

Sometimes advice from your friends just isn’t enough. We all have times when it is important to talk with someone who has experience in helping people work through their problems, or someone who’s outside the situation. Sometimes, when things are really tough, you’ll feel a strong need to talk to someone urgently and there are many ways to do that.

Tip: To search for a specific county quickly, press Ctrl+F or Command+F on your keyboard and type the county you’re looking for into the search box.

Oregon

Lines for Life

Lines for Life is an Oregon-based organization working in the prevention, intervention and advocacy for suicide, substance abuse, and mental illness. They also host a helpline that is open 24/7/365 where you can speak to highly-trained crisis intervention specialists. Lines for Life Suicide Lifeline and YouthLine after hours is answered by the same adult volunteers and staff that take calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • SUICIDE LIFELINE - For those going through crisis and those concerned for them

    • Call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7/365)

    • Text 273TALK to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • ALCOHOL & DRUG HELPLINE - For individuals and family members seeking crisis intervention, treatment referral, and chemical-dependency information

    • Call 1-800-923-4357 (24/7/365)

    • Text RecoveryNow to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • MILITARY HELPLINE - Support for service members, veterans and their families

    • Call 1-888-457-4838 (24/7/365)

    • Text MIL1 to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

  • YOUTHLINE - Support for youth in crisis or when needing help

    • Call 1-877-968-8491

    • Text teen2teen to 839863

    • Email at YouthL@LinesforLife.org

    • Chat online here

    • Teens are available to chat with you from 4pm-10pm PST daily, all other times are with adults

It’s free and it’s confidential. If there are concerns that you or someone else is in imminent danger, they’ll let you know they’re concerned and ask for your name and address. They will continue to support you, but will contact local police and EMS if they believe you won’t be able to keep yourself safe. That being said, Lines for Life aims to be as least invasive as possible and works to support you first and foremost.

Baker County - New Directions Northwest Behavioral Health and Wellness

New Directions Northwest Behavioral Health and Wellness provides outpatient care for Baker County residents with care available in-person and over the phone. They also offer assessments, crisis stabilization, intervention planning, connections to mental health providers, and non-crisis community resources. For more information on services they offer, please visit their website.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-523-3646 (24/7 support)

Benton County Behavioral Health

Benton County Behavioral Health can connect you to crisis support, as well as a variety of services available for youth and adults.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-888-232-7192 (24/7 support)

Clackamas County - Behavioral Health Division

Clackamas County can connect you to crisis support, as well as long-term support, counseling, and safety screenings.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-503-655-8585 (24/7 support)

  • NON-EMERGENCY SERVICES - For Clackamas County residents looking to schedule mental health services that are NOT urgent

    • Call 1-503-742-5335

    • Available Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Clatsop County - Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare

Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare offers 24-hour crisis care and outpatient services for Clatsop County residents.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-503-325-5724 (24/7 support)

  • NON-EMERGENCY SERVICES - For Clatsop County residents looking to schedule non-emergency mental health services or for more information

    • Call 1-503-325-5722

    • Available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Columbia County - Columbia Community Mental Health

Columbia Community Mental Health offers daily, 24 hour support for Columbia County residents via telephone, walk-in center, and a mobile crisis response unit. These services may include assessment, crisis intervention, safety planning, follow-up, additional information, and referrals. Services will not be denied if you are unable to pay.

  • CRISIS LINE & MOBILE CRISIS UNIT- For immediate help

    • Call 1-503-782-4499 (24/7 support)

  • WALK-IN CLINIC

Coos Health & Wellness - Behavioral Health Services

Coos Health & Wellness provides prevention services and education in behavioral and public health to the residents of Coos County.  

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help. They also have a mobile response team that can drive to your home, business, or other location to provide crisis intervention.

    • Call 1-541-266-6800 or 1-888-543-5763 (24/7 support)

  • CRISIS WALK-IN SERVICES

Crook County - Lutheran Community Services Northwest

Lutheran Community Services Northwest provides immediate crisis assessment, evaluations, referrals, and interventions. These services are available to Crook County residents.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-541-323-5330 and press 1 (24/7 support)

Curry County - Curry Community Health

Curry Community Health is dedicated to helping the youth and adults of Curry County meet their mental health needs. For a full list of services they offer, visit their website here.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-877-519-9322 (24/7 support)

Deschutes County Behavioral Health

Deschutes County Behavioral Health offers crisis support to anyone in need either through the phone or face-to-face. Some of their services include assessment, crisis intervention, information and referrals. They also offer individual and group treatment for brief crisis stabilization.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate help

    • Call 1-800-875-7364 (24/7 support)

  • CLINICAL CRISIS SUPPORT - For support over the phone or in-person, available only during business hours. If it’s an emergency, call 911, go to an emergency room, or call the crisis line above.

Douglas County - Compass Behavioral Health

Adapt Oregon is dedicated to providing care to Douglas County residents. Through Compass Behavioral Health, you can find 24/7 crisis intervention and evaluation services offered in person or over the phone.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate intervention, treatment determination, referrals to other mental health services and programs in the community, and more.

    • Call 1-800-866-9780 (24/7 support)

  • CLINICAL CRISIS SUPPORT - You can talk with them over the phone or visit them at the clinic during business hours. For weekend or after hours support, call the crisis line listed above.

Gilliam, Grant, Morrow, and Wheeler Counties - Community Counseling Services

Community Counseling Services has an on-call Qualified Mental Health Professional ready to take your crisis call in Gilliam, Grant, Morrow and Wheeler counties.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 911 and tell the dispatch operator that you need to speak to the on-call crisis worker. They will call you back right away to give you crisis support.

  • WARMLINE - For support when you’re not in crisis

Harney County - Harney District Hospital

Symmetry Care of Harney District Hospital offers crisis intervention to Harney County residents 24 hours a day.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-573-8376 (24/7 support)

Hood River, Sherman and Wasco Counties - Mid-Columbia Center for Living

Mid-Columbia Center for Living offers 24/7 crisis support for adults and youth via phone or walk-in clinics and has several locations to best serve its community. For more information on services offered and available locations, please visit their website here.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-888-877-9147 (24/7 support)

  • DROP-IN CENTERS - For in-person support

Jackson County Health & Human Services

Jackson County Mental Health provides assessment and evaluation, crisis intervention, information and referrals, and a range of treatment services for youth and adults in Jackson County.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-774-8201 (24/7 support)

Jefferson County Mental Health Crisis Service

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-475-6575 (24/7 support)

Josephine County Mental Health Crisis Service

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-474-5360 (24/7 support)

Klamath County - Klamath Basin Behavioral Health

Klamath Basin Behavioral Health offers 24/7/365 mental health crisis services for children, adolescents, adults, and families. Call 911 if you’re unable to stay safe or need immediate medical attention, or visit Sky Lakes Medical Center Emergency Department and they will connect you with a crisis counselor.

Lake County - Lake Health District Wellness Center

Lake Health District offers 24 hour crisis intervention to Lake County residents.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-947-6021 (24/7 support)

Lane County - Compass Behavioral Health

White Bird Clinic is a free, 24-hr crisis intervention service that caters to the residents of Lane County. Their services include phone and walk-in support for crisis intervention, mental health information and referral, and transportation assistance for people with mental health related disabilities. These crisis services are open to individuals, couples, families and groups.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-687-4000 or 1-800-422-7558 (24/7 support)

  • WALK-IN CLINIC - Available for free for anyone in crisis or is mentally ill

  • MOBILE CRISIS SUPPORT - CAHOOTS mobile crisis service is designed to give free, 24/7 crisis intervention services to the Eugene/Springfield Metro area.

    • Eugene Area Residents: Call 1-541-682-5111

    • Springfield Area Residents: Call 1-541-726-3714

Lincoln County Health & Human Services

Lincoln County Human & Health Services offers crisis intervention support to youth and adults of Lincoln County, regardless of their ability to pay for services.

  • CRISIS LINE - Daytime

    • For Adults: Call 1-541-574-5960

    • For Youth: Call 1-541-265-4179

  • CRISIS LINE - After hours

    • Call 1-866-266-0288 or 911

Linn, Marion, Polk, & Yamhill Counties - Northwest Human Services

Northwest Human Services has a Crisis & Suicide Intervention Hotline that is available 24/7. They also offer an array of other services to Marion and Polk County residents. Managed by Northwest Human Services, Mid-Valley Resources is a database for all of the available resources in the Salem area, as well as Marion and Polk Counties.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-503-581-5535 or 1-800-560-5535 (24/7 support)

Linn County Health & Human Services

Linn County Mental Health provides 24/7 screening and assessment, crisis intervention, pre-commitment investigation, telephone triage, and hospital liaison services in Linn County.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-967-3866 or 1-800-304-7468 (24/7 support)

  • ON-SITE SERVICES - If you need to be seen by a crisis worker, arrive before 3:30 p.m. If it’s an emergency, call one of the crisis lines above, call 911, or go to a local hospital emergency room.

Malheur and Umatilla Regions - Lifeways

Lifeways offers 24/7 mental health crisis support services year round for individuals in the Malheur and Umatilla Regions.

Multnomah County Mental Health

Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention services offers free, 24/7 crisis intervention with interpretation for non-English speakers. They also offer mental health referrals to low-income/sliding scale agencies, mental health providers, and non-crisis community resources.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-503-988-4888 (24/7 support)

    • Toll-free: 1-800-716-9769

    • For the hearing-impaired: 711

  • WALK-IN CLINIC - Free, in-person crisis support

Polk County Behavioral Health

Polk County Behavioral Health provides county residents with crisis response care in person and over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No one is turned away due to lack of insurance or the inability to pay. They also offer assessments, crisis stabilization, intervention planning, connections to mental health providers, and non-crisis community resources.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays) - Call 1-503-623-9289

    • After hours - Call 1-503-581-5535 or 1-800-560-5535

  • WALK-IN CLINIC - In-person crisis counseling. To be seen, you must arrive before 4 p.m.

Tillamook County - Tillamook Family Counseling Center

Tillamook Family Counseling Center provides 24/7 crisis screening and assessment (walk-in or over the phone), crisis intervention, mobile crisis response, telephone triage, and crisis consultation with community agencies and service providers in Tillamook County.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-503- 842-8201 or 1-800-962-2851 (24/7 support)

Union County - Center for Human Development

The Center for Human Development crisis team provides 24/7 crisis screening, evaluation, and stabilization for Union County residents experiencing a mental health emergency.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-962-8800 or 911 (24/7 support)

Wallowa County- Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness

The Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness provides 24/7 crisis screening, evaluation, stabilization, and alternative to hospitalization for Wallowa County residents experiencing a mental health emergency.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-541-398-1175 (24/7 support)

Washington County Crisis Services

Washington County Crisis Services provides crisis support and stabilization 24/7 from highly trained individuals. An interpreter is available upon request for non-English speakers. Other services they offer include assessment, safety planning, referrals for ongoing treatment, and information on community resources.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support

    • Call 1-503-291-9111 (24/7 support, se habla espanol)

    • For the hearing-impaired: TDD 1-800-735-2900

National

Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential crisis support via text 24/7. Whether you’re feeling suicidal or having a hard time managing strong emotions, a trained volunteer will connect with you and provide support.

  • TEXT LINE

    • Text HOME to 741741 (24/7/365)

Trans Lifeline

The Trans Lifeline is a suicide hotline for trans-identified individuals. The calls are taken by other trans people and can be used whether or not you’re in crisis.

  • LIFELINE

    • Call 1-877-565-8860

    • Available 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. PST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is dedicated to providing crisis counseling for those in the LGBTQ+ community that are considering suicide. All lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people are welcome to call.

  • TrevorLifeline

    • Call 1-866-488-7386 (24/7/365)

  • TrevorText

    • Text START to 678678 (24/7/365)

    • Standard text messaging rates apply

  • TrevorChat

    • Chat online here

    • Designed to work best on a computer

    • Wait time can vary—use the Lifeline or text option if urgent

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, anonymous crisis support that is confidential and available 24/7. Not only do they serve all veterans, but also service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and their family and friends.

  • CRISIS LINE - For immediate support


Feel nervous about calling a helpline?

It’s understandable to feel nervous or anxious before calling a helpline. Keep an eye out for an upcoming article with more information on what to expect when calling a suicide helpline.