What IS a “Warm Line?”

  • A warm line is an alternative to a crisis line that is run by “peers,” generally those who have had their own experiences of trauma that they are willing to speak of and acknowledge. {https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/06/warm-line-expect-call-one/}

  • Most warm line operators have been through extreme challenges themselves and are there primarily to listen. (emphasis added) {ibid}

  • Peer operators are trained to attentively and empathetically listen to anonymous callers, offer compassion and validation, and assist callers in connecting with their own internal resources, strengths, and direction.  …  When callers present problems, they are encouraged to facilitate their own  exploration of the associated issues and concerns.  Operators tend to refrain from offering direct advice, but rather engage callers as their peers. (emphasis added)  {http://www.gmhcn.org/files/Articles/WarmLinesPeersHelpingPeers.html}

  • Some just want to talk about their day, while others are having suicidal thoughts and need someone to listen to them.  Others are just looking for information about an agency that can help them.  {https://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Mental-health-warm-line-offers-reassurance-5945704.php}



WHY a Warm Line?



The Nova Scotia Need

  • The challenge for the system, and for patients, is that while many people get good care and are able to function much as before, resources are stretched and waiting times can become longer and longer, especially in areas away from the regional centre of Halifax.

  • “So I waited in acute crisis for a year, when I was supposed to be getting that call within two weeks.”  … official numbers published by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness show wait times of that length are not uncommon for adult community-based mental health services.

  • Of the 169 psychiatrists listed as practicing in Nova Scotia by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, 113, or two-thirds, list their practice location within Halifax Regional Municipality. 

  • Province-wide in Nova Scotia, about four of five people who come to a hospital emergency department with a mental health complaint are seen and then sent home, sometimes with a referral to community-based services

{all from https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/the-quiet-crisis-of-mental-health-care-in-nova-scotia/Content?oid=7355675}

What Can I Expect When I Call?

  • trained peer-support volunteer will answer - someone who has been screened and interviewed, and specifically trained to listen.  

  • They will refrain from offering advice, but will listen with empathy, while helping you to identify the helps, supports, strengths and resources you already have at your disposal.  

  • They will also be able to provide contact information for mental health supports in Shelburne County.  

  • A Warm Line is NOT A CRISIS LINE.  (The goal is intervention and support prior to reaching a point of crisis).  If you call and are in crisis, the volunteer will call an appropriate crisis line - other than actually dialing the number, you will be able to hear everything as the transfer is made - and your call will be transferred so that you are able to receive adequate intervention.  

  • Expect your call to last no more than 20-30 minutes, generally.  

  • It is a toll-free number, which means you will not incur any phone charges of your own for calling.  

  • All calls are confidential.  Even if you say your own name, it will never be recorded.  It is possible that you may be asked a couple of brief survey questions at the end of your call - simply to compile data about use and effectiveness of the warm line.  Again, no identifying information will be asked for or recorded.