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.
- “I am going to kill myself.”
- “My boyfriend punches me.”
- “There is a bomb in a locker.”
- “My father was touching me.”
Some of these calls may be pranks, but we should always assume that the call is real and take the situation seriously.
What To Do
The following guidelines are intended to help prepare librarians for the possibility of a crisis call and provide appropriate steps to take in the event of a crisis call.
- 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. As librarians, we don’t have the necessary training to assist a patron in crisis, but we can find resources that will help. Links for hotline resources are listed below.
- 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, they will pass information on for follow up.
- Mandatory Reporters: Oregon law requires employees of a private or public organization providing child-related services or activities who have reasonable cause to believe that a child with whom they come in contact with has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom library employees come in contact has abused a child, to immediately report or cause a report to be made to the State of Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) or law enforcement. The law also requires reporting of adult abuse for adults older than 65 and adults with disabilities. The responsibility to report to DHS is present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and includes non-work hours. Volunteers are not considered mandatory reporters. However, Answerland volunteers who also work in an Oregon library are considered mandatory reporters if the law applies to the library in which they work. More information about mandatory reporting is on the DHS website.
- IMALIVE – 24/7 chat crisis intervention network
- Crisis Text Line
Text: START to 741741 (24×7)
- Oregon County Crisis Lines and Mental Health Resources
- Resources for Crisis and Trauma Response
- Project UROK
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Call to Safety (formerly Portland Women’s Crisis Line)
Toll free 1-888-235-5333
- Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)
(800) 950-NAMI (6264)
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
24/7 chat: http://online.rainn.org/
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (includes 24/7 chat)
- Oregon Suicide Hotlines
- National Runaway Safeline
http://www.nrscrisisline.org/ (includes chat and email)
- Oregon Youth Line
Text teen2teen to 839863
http://oregonyouthline.org/ (includes chat)
Hours: 7 days a week from 4-10 pm.
- Problem Solvers
Toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-7636
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday
Oregon lawyers volunteer as Problem Solvers to offer free legal information and advice to any young person between the ages of 13 and 17.
- Your Life Your Voice
Text VOICE to 20121 (Mon–Fri, 4 PM to 10 PM CST)
yourlifeyourvoice.org (includes chat and email)
“Please contact us if you’re depressed, contemplating suicide, being physically or sexually abused, on the run, addicted, threatened by gang violence, fighting with a friend or parent, or if you are faced with an overwhelming challenge.”
Not a hotline, but many resources for teens on emotional health.