It can be difficult to know where to turn when you're struggling with your mental health. Whether you're going through a tough time, or you're concerned about a loved one, you can turn to a helpline or hotline for crisis counseling support. 15 helplines are available in Scotland to help you.
It's common to feel some anxiety about contacting a helpline. Learn more about what helplines offer so you can decide if it's right for you.
Helplines, otherwise known as hotlines or crisis lines, offer free, confidential counseling support to people in emotional pain. Some offer support over the phone, and others over text message or online chat.
Whether you need a listening ear, or help with what to do next, helpline staff can help. They will ask you questions to help you process your emotions or situation. They can also collaborate with you on what steps you might take to improve your situation, which can help you feel more in control and confident about the future.
The people on the other end of a helpline or hotline are often counselors or volunteers who are trained in crisis counseling and active listening, and can offer you a safe space to talk freely about what's bothering you. Some helplines are staffed by peers who have some personal experience in the issue the helpline supports with.
Some helplines offer support for specific problems like suicide, depression, anxiety, domestic violence and sexual assault. Others help with certain demographics, such as veterans, youth or the LGBTQ+ community. Many helplines offer support for all kinds of mental and behavioral health problems – this means you can talk to them about anything that is on your mind.
For help with thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life, you can contact a suicide prevention hotline, also known as a crisis line or lifeline. Suicide hotlines are available 24/7 in most countries. These crisis services commonly support with any problem you might be facing, so you can also call them if you aren't thinking about suicide.
It can be worrying when a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health or experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Helplines will support you to better help your loved one, whether that is actions you could take to support them, or external support they might be able to access.
In Scotland, there are 15 hotlines and helplines that support with a range of topics.
The first helpline was set up in 1953. Today, there are over 2,000 helplines supporting with a wide variety of issues, experiences and demographics. Their shared desire to assist those going through emotional or mental distress binds them together. No matter what your problem is, talking to someone can help and helplines provide this vital service, for free.