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. 6 helplines are available in Nigeria to help you.
It’s normal to feel nervous about making the call. Learn here about what to expect.
Helplines, also known as hotlines or crisis lines, exist to provide free, confidential help to anyone in need of emotional support. Some helplines offer their services over the phone, and others over text message or chat. Many are available 24/7.
Whether you just need someone to listen to you, or you're looking for more practical advice, a helpline responder can support you in the way you need. They will commonly ask questions to help you process your emotions, and may help you form a plan so you can feel more in control.
When you contact a helpline, you'll commonly speak to a volunteer or counselor who has been trained in crisis counseling or active listening, and is equipped to support you. Some helplines are operated by people who have a similar experience to the issue or topic that the helpline supports.
Some helplines support with specific issues, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, and abuse. Others support with specific demographics, such as the LGBTQ+ community, veterans or young people. So if you're looking for tailored support, you might be able to find a hotline specific to your problem. There are also helplines that support with any problem that’s causing you distress – no matter how small or big it seems to you.
In most countries, there is access to a suicide hotline number that you can call if you're having thoughts about wanting to die or ending your life. Suicide hotlines, often called lifelines or crisis lines, are usually accessible 24/7. Many suicide hotlines also support with all topics.
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 Nigeria, there are 6 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.