Whether you're experiencing a mental health crisis or you're worried about a loved one's mental health, free help is available to you. In New Zealand, there are 35 helplines that support with a range of mental health or behavioral health concerns.
Feeling hesitant to reach out is completely normal. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more comfortable.
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.
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.
Helplines are usually staffed by counselors and volunteers who are trained in how to support people in an emotional crisis. Some helplines are also run by peers who have a similar life experience to the topic they provide support with.
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.
Suicide prevention hotlines or lifelines are available in many countries. They exist to provide compassionate support to people who are feeling hopeless or are thinking of ending their lives. Suicide hotlines commonly support with all topics, which means they can help with any kind of problem, even if it's not suicide related. They are usually reachable at all hours of the day and night.
When a friend or family member is going through a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to know how to help. Helplines will offer advice on how you can best support your loved one, whether that be through ways you can support them or outside support they may be able to get.
In New Zealand, there are 35 hotlines and helplines that support with a range of topics.
Globally, there are over 2,000 helplines and hotlines, and the support they offer varies across topics and populations. What unites them is their shared aim to support people who are experiencing mental health distress or emotional pain. Helplines are there to assist you in a time of emotional pain, and to support those who may be noticing warning signs of an emotional crisis in those they care about.