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Hot call to a warm line: Preliminary explorations into doing suicide prevention
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Hot call to a warm line: Preliminary explorations of the dilemmatic and episodic nature of suicide prevention It is commonly thought that suicide intervention hotlines began with the establishment of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center and the Samaritans in England in the late 1950s (Farberow & Shneidman, 1961; Lester & Brockopp, 1973; Fox, 1968). Since then, suicide prevention has become part of a more inclusive crisis intervention framework. In addition to crisis intervention hotlines, telephone support services currently exist for numerous problems, including poisonings (Broadhead, 1986; Frankel, 1989), drug abuse, AIDS (e.g., Wellman, 1993), cancer (e.g., Hopper, Ward, Thomason, & Sias, 1995), child abuse (e.g., Colman, 1989), consumer complaints (Torode, 1995), smoking cessation (Lichtenstein, Glasgow, Lando, Ossip- Klein, & Boles, 1996) and family crises during wartime (Shamai, 1994). The most recent types of telephone support service to arise have been “consumer-run warm lines.” Similar to hotlines, warm lines have emerged to compensate for shortcomings of existing professional programs, operating “after hours” when therapists, counselors, and other mental health support staff are not available. Both mediate between a person’s urgent need for help and their reluctance to turn to the bureaucratic entanglements of existing health and social services (Broadhead, 1986). However, “consumer-run warm lines” differ from hot lines by being pre-crisis services designed for providing social support, and not for providing assistance to callers with suicidal issues and other urgent problems. Warm lines are staffed by “consumers”: the term for clients within the community mental health system. These consumers, whom I call working peers, are trained by professional staff, which discuss issues of confidentiality, setting boundaries, and being respectful of callers; share

Authors: Pudlinski, Christopher.
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2
Hot call to a warm line:
Preliminary explorations of the dilemmatic and episodic nature of suicide prevention
It is commonly thought that suicide intervention hotlines began with the establishment of
the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center and the Samaritans in England in the late 1950s
(Farberow & Shneidman, 1961; Lester & Brockopp, 1973; Fox, 1968). Since then, suicide
prevention has become part of a more inclusive crisis intervention framework. In addition to
crisis intervention hotlines, telephone support services currently exist for numerous problems,
including poisonings (Broadhead, 1986; Frankel, 1989), drug abuse, AIDS (e.g., Wellman,
1993), cancer (e.g., Hopper, Ward, Thomason, & Sias, 1995), child abuse (e.g., Colman, 1989),
consumer complaints (Torode, 1995), smoking cessation (Lichtenstein, Glasgow, Lando, Ossip-
Klein, & Boles, 1996) and family crises during wartime (Shamai, 1994).
The most recent types of telephone support service to arise have been “consumer-run
warm lines.” Similar to hotlines, warm lines have emerged to compensate for shortcomings of
existing professional programs, operating “after hours” when therapists, counselors, and other
mental health support staff are not available. Both mediate between a person’s urgent need for
help and their reluctance to turn to the bureaucratic entanglements of existing health and social
services (Broadhead, 1986). However, “consumer-run warm lines” differ from hot lines by being
pre-crisis services designed for providing social support, and not for providing assistance to
callers with suicidal issues and other urgent problems.
Warm lines are staffed by “consumers”: the term for clients within the community mental
health system. These consumers, whom I call working peers, are trained by professional staff,
which discuss issues of confidentiality, setting boundaries, and being respectful of callers; share


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