By Heather Hankins, MiCAL Crisis Line Shift Supervisor, Common Ground
In times of distress, calling a crisis line can provide vital support and assistance. However, due to various misconceptions surrounding crisis hotlines, many individuals may be reluctant to reach out for help when they need it the most. This post will address three common misconceptions about calling a crisis line to help reduce stigma and normalize the act of reaching out for mental health support.
Misconception 1: “Crisis lines are for emergencies only.”
One prevailing misconception about crisis lines is that they are solely meant for life-threatening emergencies. While crisis lines do provide immediate help in acute situations, they also extend their support to individuals facing emotional distress, mental health concerns, and personal crises. Crisis counselors are trained professionals who offer empathetic listening, support, and resources to address a wide range of challenges. By assuming that crisis lines are exclusively for emergencies, individuals may underestimate the significance of these services in providing early intervention and preventing escalation of crises.
Misconception 2: “Crisis lines are only for people with severe mental health issues.”
Another common misconception is that crisis lines are exclusively designed for individuals with severe mental health conditions. However, crisis lines cater to a broad spectrum of individuals dealing with various emotional, psychological, or situational difficulties. They offer nonjudgmental support to those experiencing relationship problems, grief and loss, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other challenges. Crisis counselors are trained to handle diverse concerns and offer support, referrals, and coping strategies. No matter the nature or severity of the distress, individuals can find solace and assistance through these helplines, allowing them to access help before their concerns escalate into more significant issues.
Misconception 3: “Crisis lines won’t understand or help me.”
A prevalent misconception is that crisis lines may not comprehend an individual’s unique circumstances or offer adequate assistance. This belief often stems from fears of being judged or misunderstood. However, crisis counselors are trained professionals who possess the skills to listen actively and empathetically. They are equipped to handle a diverse range of experiences and offer support tailored to each caller’s needs. Crisis lines respect the confidentiality and anonymity of callers, fostering a safe and non-threatening environment. The professionals at these hotlines are knowledgeable of available community resources, including mental health services, shelters, and support groups, and can provide appropriate referrals if necessary. It is important to recognize that crisis lines are staffed with compassionate individuals who genuinely want to help and support individuals in distress.
Addressing misconceptions surrounding crisis lines is crucial to encourage individuals to seek the help they need. By dispelling the myths that crisis lines are only for emergencies, exclusively for severe mental health issues, or unable to understand personal circumstances, more people can access the support they require during difficult times. Understanding the true nature and value of crisis lines can empower individuals to overcome their hesitations, promoting mental health and overall well-being. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Crisis lines are here to support you and help you move from crisis to hope.
If you or a loved one is in need of support, dial 988.
About Heather: Heather is a shift supervisor for the Michigan Crisis and Access Line (MiCAL) and has been with Common Ground since February 2022. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Indiana University in 2021 and is currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. When not supporting counselors on the crisis line, Heather enjoys reading, gardening, and baking sweets.