Tip of the Week: Crisis Calls

Although they happen rarely, we occasionally receive crisis calls on Answerland. These may be suicide calls or calls that indicate some sort of abuse or threat to personal safety involved. If you aren’t sure if there is a crisis or not, ask yourself the question, “Is someone in danger?” If that answer is YES, or if someone was in danger recently, or if someone will be in danger soon, it is a crisis call.

If you receive one:

  • Do a reference interview. It’s possible that the call is coming from a student doing research. One or two clarifying questions will determine if the call is personal in nature or not.
  • If the question is personal, refer the patron to an appropriate hotline. Links for hotline resources are listed at https://answerland.org/for-librarians/crisis-calls/.
  • Strike a balance between professional behavior and supportive behavior. If the patron is in trouble, we want to be friendly, supportive, and approachable, as with all of our patrons. However, remain professional and give resources rather than advice.
  • When the chat is ended, mark the question with the Descriptive Code “Crisis Call.” Then report the call to the Answerland Coordinator with the Question ID if possible, and if not, about what time it happened and who was online. If the call originated in a school or library, I will pass information on for follow up.

Also take a look at QP’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative policy on handling crisis calls.

Posted in Tip of the Week