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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. 24 helplines are available in India to help you.
It may seem scary to call. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more confident to access the free support that is available to 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.
Helpline responders support you by listening to you, helping you understand your emotions better, and working with you on a plan forward. Having a plan about what to do next can help you feel more in control.
When you call a helpline, you'll connect with a volunteer or counselor, or sometimes with a peer with similar experience to the topic of the helpline. They are often trained and experienced in active listening or crisis counseling. This means they know how to help people in your situation.
Helplines are there for anyone who might be in need of free support for mental and behavioral health problems. If you are struggling with something specific, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, or domestic violence, there are often helplines that cater specifically to these issues. You may also be able to contact a helpline related to your demographic, such as helplines that are specifically for teenagers, veterans or the LGBTQ+ community. A lot of helplines provide support for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues, so you can talk with them about anything that is concerning you.
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.
Helplines aren't just for the times when you need support. They can also be helpful if you're worried about someone else. When you contact a helpline for advice about someone you care about, they will talk with you about how you might support the person. This might look like support resources that person is able to access, or behaviors or actions you can take to help their situation.
In India, there are 24 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.