Welcome to HopeLine!
We are excited you are interested in learning more about our organization. This section is an introduction to let you know more about our agency.
HopeLine’s mission is to support people and save lives during times of crisis through caring, confidential conversations.
We do this by providing the community with a free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline that offers crisis intervention, supportive and non-judgmental active listening, gentle and understanding discussion of crisis resolution, and referrals to appropriate community resources.
Who Are We?
HopeLine, Inc. is an independent volunteer organization originally founded by a group of concerned local citizens. In 1970, they formed a committee to study the needs in Wake County. Through their research, they determined that Wake County needed a telephone service for people in crisis to call, confidentially and anonymously. In August 1970, articles of incorporation for HopeLine were established, as well as a 15-member Board of Directors, by-laws, and committees. Calls were first taken September 1, 1970. HopeLine is essentially a vast group of volunteers working to support the community. Our volunteers serve in a variety of fashions. These include serving on our Board of Directors, answering calls on our Crisis and Teen Talk Lines, training, fundraising, public speaking, and office assistance. Many volunteers wear more than one hat. In the fall of 1996, we unveiled HopeLine’s Wall of Hope, located on the Avent Ferry Road side of the Mission Valley Theatres. We believe the mural symbolizes how the community comes together to help each other.
HopeLine has four programs: The Crisis Line, Teen Chat Line, Reassurance Call Program and Educational Programs . For more information about our programs please visit here.
Who Do We Serve?
There are no requirements to receive our services. HopeLine will never turn a caller away and calls can range from emergency situations like suicide to those grieving a loss, or just having a bad day.
How Do Our Callers Find Us?
Over the years, HopeLine has developed a broad base of support in the community. We reach out to the community through public service announcements and the placement of ads in local newspapers. Some volunteers participate in a speaker’s bureau in order to let community members know about HopeLine. We work hard to let the public know that we are here to help them. In HopeLine’s training course, we help our volunteers become caring, non-judgmental listeners and teach them how to effectively provide resource information to the people of our community who reach out to us.
The HopeLine Approach to Serving the Community
HopeLine’s underlying premise is that “caring, non-judgmental listening and resource information” will “improve the overall well-being of people in the community.” HopeLine focuses on active listening techniques to offer caring nonjudgmental listening to our callers. We do not give advice on the lines but instead will offer referrals to other organizations using the United Way 211 program.
HopeLine’s volunteers are not professional counselors but trained listeners. These listeners attempt to create for a caller in crisis an atmosphere of acceptance and trust, whereby the caller feels free to express all feelings and thoughts and to establish a rapport between him or her and the listener. It is a connection that makes it possible to offer support and have discussion of alternatives available to the caller. HopeLine volunteers are required to put personal biases aside in dealing with callers and, therefore, does not offer solutions but instead strive to help callers identify satisfactory solutions for themselves. Callers are free to discuss openly with volunteers whatever problems may be troubling them. In this way, each caller is treated as an individual and is not judged as “good” or “bad.” HopeLine volunteers are trained to identify physical and emotional emergencies over the telephone and to contact professionals when necessary.
What Is A Crisis?
For our purposes, a crisis is essentially whatever leads someone to call us. In general, a crisis arises when an individual does not have the skills and abilities to handle a situation. This may be due to inexperience or inability to utilize coping mechanisms and/or resources. There are, then, no real boundaries to the term crisis. In the beginning, as with most crisis lines around the country, the primary concern was suicide. Suicide remains a major concern of ours since it is a very final response to a personal crisis with effects that can ripple throughout a community. But suicide is by no means the only response to crisis our callers are contemplating, or even the most common. We will be talking about these and other dimensions as we go through training. The point to be made here is that the range of calls we receive is almost infinite – from the death of a loved one, to coping with choosing a new career, to adjusting to life in a new community, to running away, to relationship problems, to sexual identity, to family violence – just about everything from the seemingly mundane to immediately life-threatening events.
What Is Caring, Non-Judgmental Listening?
Caring, non-judgmental listening (also know as ‘active listening’) is a counseling technique in wide use in a variety of situations. It was adopted as HopeLine’s approach (as it was in most crisis lines) because it is virtually the only technique that is effective in circumstances in which the participants are not in a face-to-face setting and in which the interaction is extremely transient. From time to time, HopeLine, Inc. appoints a committee to review the appropriateness of the technique, calling on professionals in the mental health community and academic experts. Active listening is not, in itself, therapy, and HopeLine does not provide psychological counseling over the phone (hence the resource information part of our mission statement). HopeLine volunteers are trained listeners, not therapists.
The essence of active listening is that the caller will find within himself the first steps toward resolving his or her crisis. This happens when the volunteer: listens very carefully (especially to the emotional content of a call), reflects key elements of the emotional content, stays with the emotional flow of the interaction, and keeps the focus on the caller and his/her concerns. The caller and volunteer can begin to explore options and alternatives.
All calls to HopeLine are confidential. Callers are not asked to give their names. Volunteers are not permitted to give their names or any personal information. Volunteers sign a confidentiality statement during their initial training.
Who Can We Help?
Our experience is that active listening is effective for a very broad range of callers and problems.
Who Can We Not Help?
There are exceptions. As you would expect, because our number is widely publicized, we do receive some inappropriate calls. Furthermore, there are inherent limitations in our approach. We are not professional therapists and, on occasion, that is what the caller may really need. In those instances, the best we can do is try to make the correct referral. When necessary, HopeLine, Inc. turns to mental health professionals for suggestions on handling such calls and advice on how best to help mentally ill callers.
Implicit in our mission statement and approach to helping callers are three inter-linked features.
Coverage – We are pledged to ‘be there’ for the community. That means that when someone calls during HopeLine’s hours of operation, a volunteer will be there to answer the phone. The goal of HopeLine is to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is up to us to ensure that it is.
Confidentiality – We have a solid tradition and policy of confidentiality. Our callers talk to us in confidence, and we make no effort to discover their identity. We are convinced that this policy is crucial to our effectiveness. Confidentiality is a two-way street. Just as we do not ask for identifying information, we do not reveal our identities or location to the caller. This assists in the transition from shift to shift, keeps the focus on the caller and clearly establishes the boundaries for the interaction between the caller and volunteers.
Competence – We have to be good at what we do. This is accomplished initially by going through the training. But training and learning has to be continuous. Throughout the year, in-service training is offered.