What would make crisis/suicide hotlines work for you?

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skibum
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17 Nov 2020, 3:49 pm

One of the big projects I am working on, and since I proposed it, I am a major leader on the committee, is to retrain and restructure the crisis/suicide hotline system in the US to make it more effective to meeting the needs of Autistics in crisis. I know the things that would help me with a crisis hotline but I would really appreciate knowing the kinds of things that would help all of you. When I teach and advocate, I want to make it a point to represent the entire Autistic community the best I can and not just represent my needs. If any of you would like to comment on what you would like to see in a crisis/suicide hotline system and what changes should be made to meet the needs of Autistic people who are in crisis, Please comment.


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funeralxempire
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17 Nov 2020, 4:09 pm

Honestly, I don't believe they could ever be made to work for me.



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17 Nov 2020, 4:30 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Honestly, I don't believe they could ever be made to work for me.
Please help me understand what you mean. It is very important. I am really making efforts to change the system so that we can have our needs met.

I also wrote a police and first responder Autism training course that is currently being reviewed by the police department in my city and they are considering adding it to their curriculum. I know that if we can work together, we can make changes so that our needs can be met but if you don't tell me what your needs are, we won't be able to come up with ideas on how to change the system.


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funeralxempire
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17 Nov 2020, 4:38 pm

skibum wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Honestly, I don't believe they could ever be made to work for me.
Please help me understand what you mean. It is very important. I am really making efforts to change the system so that we can have our needs met.

I also wrote a police and first responder Autism training course that is currently being reviewed by the police department in my city and they are considering adding it to their curriculum. I know that if we can work together, we can make changes so that our needs can be met but if you don't tell me what your needs are, we won't be able to come up with ideas on how to change the system.


For starters because it would be inconceivable to actually contact one, but besides that because I don't feel the need to share that I'm sick of being alive and that if/when I make that decision I won't be persuadable away from it.

Beyond that, when I'm overwhelmed by those feelings people making any attempt to persuade me only would make it more likely that I follow through.

I know there are people on here who openly discuss feeling suicidal at times but odds are the ones who post about it have no real intention of following through in the near future and merely need emotional support. I'm willing to bet the people here who are the most severely impacted by those feelings and who've been dealing with them for the longest don't often discuss them because they're not open to being persuaded.

Basically, if one's needs can't be met it makes no sense struggling to fail to meet those needs (if failure is guaranteed) and to instead focus on those who's needs can be met.



skibum
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17 Nov 2020, 4:43 pm

I understand. Thank you so much for explaining. I completely agree with you that trying to convince someone in crisis not to do it is not always the best way to go about it and it can actually have the opposite effect. I feel the same way. This is actually one of the points that will be in my training program. I really appreciate your input. It helped a lot more that you realize. I am glad to know that I am not the only person who feels the way that you do about that point.

It is also really important for people to understand that having suicidal moments does not mean you are sick. Some people genuinely are mentally ill and have suicidal depression because of it. But that is not the case for many of us. Many of us have suicidal urges and ideation not because we are mentally ill, or have a mental disorder, but simply because we are so incredibly overwhelmed.

I have no problem with people who have mental illnesses, but it is very important for people to understand the difference between someone who has a mental illness and someone who is feeling so incredibly overwhelmed by life and by societal abuses that he simply has no ability to continue. And it is not only important to understand the difference, but it is critically important to know how to talk to someone who is simply that overwhelmed so that you do not overwhelm him further. This concept is also something that will be in my training program.


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17 Nov 2020, 5:42 pm

My main distrust of these types of services is that

1.) It isn't completely (& I do mean 100%) anonymous.
2.) They have the right to inform the cops or an ambulance about the caller. (I really don't care if it's the last thing on the list of things to do.)



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17 Nov 2020, 8:56 pm

I personally don't see much of a point in using crisis hotlines.

Instead, I use a texting number to contact someone whenever I need to do so.


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17 Nov 2020, 9:26 pm

It's kind of hard to imagine that a crisis line could work for me

24, hotline operator had the nerve to tell me that it was a prank call and he was calling 911

Since then did not call crisis line

However, the crisis line would have been less wrong, if they did not act like the correct answer to "how are you doing?" is "perfect". All other answers are wrong and the punishment for a wrong answer 5150

They could use some training in autism

Although quite frankly, it just seems like any phone call requires a tremendous amount of background information. It's hard to communicate it over the phone

In writing is easier for me



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18 Nov 2020, 8:39 am

I worked on a Crisis Hotline 40 years ago for five years. It was an interesting time in that there was a transition from the founding people to "professional" people. The Hotline was originally started by "street" people to provide drug information. It quickly evolved to an any crisis hotline.

Many of the volunteers were women pursuing a MSW degree and thought having 50 hours or so of volunteer work on their resume would be an employment advantage.

It was my observation the professionals (such as women with a masters in social work MSW) were almost always less able to actually talk with someone as a person much less be able to offer real help.

Hopefully things have improved, however I would be doubtful as the person to person model of help was being replaced by the pigeonhole sorting method where the subject of your call identified which agency you would be referred to was in ascendancy.

Organizations, systems, and procedures now rule corporate life. The driving force is money. Not for profit organizations still lust after money (grants) and control. They will not allow anyone to threaten their monopoly. They retain the approval of "experts" (MSW) which derive their legitimacy from academia. As a result, I see no way to change the existing model.



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18 Nov 2020, 9:27 am

From the perspective of having worked at a suicide prevention call center, what would have made it work better for me would have been a "magic" light that would illuminate only during a crank call.

Better yet, a device or piece of software that would block all crank calls, and allow only those callers with real problems to get through.

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18 Nov 2020, 1:16 pm

Thank you all. This input is really helpful.


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19 Nov 2020, 10:34 am

The operators could use some training on sensory issues and how they makes us feel. I speak for myself: i have hypersensitivities to lights (irlen syndrome), to touch, to smell and to taste. Hypersensitivity to taste isn't likely gonna be the thing that would want to make me kill myself, but irlen syndrome would, along with other social factors.

With irlen syndrome i have constant headaches (everyday since i was born), i have constant high levels of stress that activate my fight or flight system, constant sensory anxiety, sensory overload, meltdowns, shutdowns, difficulty being independent (driving is difficult for me, so is going to buses also because of the smell sensitivity).

Irlen syndrome cause executive disfunction, so i'm perceived to be stupid by other people, and i was bullied a lot in school for that reason. it caused me academic problems, because the school system isn't build for neurodivergent people. the whole world isn't build for neurodivergent people.

it causes me social problems because i find it hard to make eye contact, i can't go to pubs or other places that people my age go which are very chaotic, and that would leave me isolated, if it wasn't for the fact that i have friends who are also disabled, and that don't go out much either.

Sensitivity to smells makes me have headaches too, and it makes me gag which can be embarassing. I have trouble sleeping, because my body is too activated at night. I have depression because of years of bullying and sensory difficulties. the operators should know the difference between a typical burnout and an autistic burnout. they should not condone ableism. they should respect us. they should know that a lot of us have alexithymia, so we may find it hard to express our feelings in words.

They should spend time here, and get to know us, because a lot of times what's written in books isn't useful. They should understand the differences between males and females on the spectrum too.



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19 Nov 2020, 10:54 am

XSara wrote:
The operators could use some training on sensory issues and how they makes us feel ... the operators should know the difference between a typical burnout and an autistic burnout. they should not condone ableism. they should respect us. they should know that a lot of us have alexithymia, so we may find it hard to express our feelings in words.

They should spend time here, and get to know us, because a lot of times what's written in books isn't useful. They should understand the differences between males and females on the spectrum too.
All very good ideas.

Hence, it is fair to point out that most of the people who worked at the same call center as I were also college students putting in X number of hours toward their course credit, and that between jobs, classwork, partying, and sleep, many did not have time to even meet any of the people they were supposed to be helping.

So yes, definitely they should come here and get to know us better!


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20 Nov 2020, 9:55 pm

Thank you for your work on this valuable project!

(I don't have any specific suggestions offhand, other than that the crisis hotline should have an advisory board -- not just a one-time training session -- that includes people with various disabilities.)


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20 Nov 2020, 10:16 pm

If anyone is in need of suicide prevention (should you get yourself in any situations in which you may try to do it), text HOME to 741741.

I have used this before and it helped me.

If you are outside of the US, I don't know if there are anything similar.


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20 Nov 2020, 10:18 pm

How about a suicide textline?


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