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The Value of a Helpline

The Value of a Helpline

The benefits of talking to someone on a Helpline are immense. Quite often when a person lifts up the phone they are seeking immediate support. More often than not, this person is in great distress. They are seeking a non- judgmental empathic listener and the anonymity that is provided by the phone service.

Example of a Typical Call to the CARI Helpline*

  • Caller phones the CARI Helpline. They seem to be finding it difficult to speak.
  • CARI Helpline advisor notices that the caller is crying very softly in the background. They use a very gentle voice and tell the caller “It’s ok, take your time and I will wait until you feel ready to speak”.
  • Caller “That programme on TV last night has brought it all back to me”; the caller begins to sob and states “Oh my God I can’t cope I just want to die”.
  • The Helpline Advisor uses a soft, gentle tone and reflects back the caller’s feelings, asks for a first name and encourages the caller to explore in more detail the concerns they have at this time.
  • The caller states “I feel so alone, I live in a very small village in Cork and I cannot talk to anyone”, cries again and seems to be finding it difficult to breathe.
  • The Helpline Advisor uses his/her empathic listening skills and waits until the caller feels ready to talk.
  • The caller states “He raped me, he did things to me for years and now I just feel like I can’t cope”, I feel so dirty and ashamed please help me”.
  • The Advisor is aware that this is the first time this caller has ever spoken out loud about their experiences and just listens as they go on to explain that a local man sexually abused her as a child.
  • The caller explains that she was always afraid to tell because the alleged perpetrator told her he would kill her Mother and Father if she ever told. She state’s that whilst watching the film, ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’ she had a flashback or memories of her own abuse.
  • The Helpline Advisor empathizes and names how frightening that must have been. She also explains that this is something that she has heard quite often before and states that she believes people who have experienced sexual abuse in their child hood can often have memories triggered by things that they see on TV.
  • The caller thanks the Advisor for listening and states “I don’t feel ready to go for help yet but it would really help if I could talk to you again. I know I need help, I just have some more questions first”.

The Helpline Advisor checks what supports the caller has in place and gives details of other similar support services. She tells the caller she can use our services again and gives all relevant details of the helpline opening hours.

*This example is a composite of a number of different calls to protect confidentiality of individual callers.