June 15, 2024

Depression Hotline Info You Need to Know

One of the main reasons that depression can turn deadly is the loneliness and despair that many of its victims feel. Those suffering from depression may feel a sense of isolation, a sense that nobody either understands or cares to understand what they are going through. A depression hotline can help depression victims achieve immediate personal contact with someone who has been trained to assist the suicidal and the lonely.

There are different types of depression hotlines and there are also alternative communication methods that reflect the ever-changing times.

Why and When Should a Person Call a Depression Hotline

If a person is contemplating or carrying out a suicide attempt, he or she should call a hotline immediately.

Even hotlines that are billed as suicide hotlines welcome calls from those who are depressed and will not turn away someone who has yet to become suicidal. Those on the other end of the phone realize the importance of preventing someone from becoming suicidal and will talk to someone who has not yet reached that tipping point.

A person should call a hotline to receive reassurance that he or she is not alone and that other people understand and care about the person’s problems. It is a way to talk to a non-judgmental person and get comfort from someone outside the person’s circle of family and friends. The hotline worker can provide a kind, listening ear and understanding of what the person calling is going through.

Most hotlines operate 24/7 and most are free. For most of these hotlines, there is never a bad time to call.

What to Expect When Calling a Depression Hotline

A person should expect to wait a few minutes before talking to someone on a hotline. Many people suffer from suicidal and depressed thoughts, and the hotline operators want to do the best job they can do for everyone including you.

A person should also remember that the people on the other end of the phone are imperfect themselves and will not likely have all the answers. They may struggle with depression themselves, they may have lost loved ones to suicide, or they may simply care about others.

Once on the phone, the crisis worker will ask questions about the caller’s emotional state. Callers should be honest and open as being so could save their lives.

In addition to a gentle questioning of your situation and kind, listening ear, the crisis worker will likely be helpful in providing you possible referral resources and information that will be of use for you and your particular situation.

Suicide and Depression Hotline Phone Numbers

The National Hopeline Network (1-800-SUICIDE) was founded by a man whose wife committed suicide and is considered to be one of the best suicide hotlines available. It is free, always available, and confidential, and callers are directed to the call center nearest their location. While “Suicide” is in the phone number, they will gladly talk to someone who has not yet reached that point.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK; 1-800-799-TTYL for hearing impaired) is available 24/7 and has trained counselors who are willing to talk to the suicidal, the lonely, those worried about how to deal with suicidal loved ones, and veterans returning from war with depression. They also have a special number for the hearing impaired to call.

The Boys Town Hotline (1-800-448-3000; 1-800-448-1833 for hearing impaired) has helpers available 24/7 and is not limited to boys. This hotline is geared towards helping parents and teens deal with depression, suicide prevention, parenting troubles, but people of all ages can call here and receive help.

Samaritans (0845 790 9090 UK; 1850 60 90 90 ROI) operates a 24 hour hotline available in Wales, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. They are not free, but they have volunteers that also answer letters and emails.

Befrienders International (befrienders.org) is a network now run by the UK-based Samaritans that has a network of over 30,000 crisis workers in nearly 40 countries. Would-be callers search for their country on the drop-down menu and are taken to a list of hotline numbers and Internet addresses. Those who prefer to find local suicide hotlines may do so by using the drop menu here.

depression self helpSuicide/Depression Internet Chat Services

The ever-changing nature of modern technology has brought about new and exciting methods of crisis counseling. People are realizing that they can meet the needs of the modern depression sufferer via more avenues than a phone helpline.

Some hotlines offer chatting and email services in addition to their hotlines, while other services are exclusively chat-based.

For those who may find talking on the telephone to be intimidating or simply express themselves better through writing, chat services may be a better choice. As with anything done online, chatters should understand the risks involved and should not give away personal information to an untrustworthy source.

Some suicide hotlines also have chat services.


  • Both Boys Town and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offer chat services from 7:30PM-12AM CST and 5PM-1AM EST respectively.
  • CrisisChat (www.crisischat.org) is a free online chat service that operates from 12AM-12PM EST with additional hours on other days. All volunteers and staff are trained and will chat with the suicidal, depressed, and troubled people about their emotional states. Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so, although CrisisChat may collect non-identifying information such as zip code and gender.
  • Veterans Crisis Line (veteranscrisisline.net) offers free 24-hour chat services to all veterans and their loved ones who need support. Staffed with qualified VA professionals, this chat service will help veterans through feelings of suicide and depression.

Suicide and Depression E-mail, Forum, and Chat Room Services

Some suicide and depression assistance places offer other online services beyond chatting. Many of these options are good for people who are not feeling suicidal but who simply want to connect with other people who truly understand their troubles.

The act of writing problems in an email can be therapeutic, and joining a bustling forum community or a chat room can encourage those who are depressed. As with any online activity, people should know the rules and understand the risks involved.


  • Internationally, Samaritans and Befrienders have email services, and Samaritan also answers regular mail.
  • Both depressionforums.org and depression-chat-rooms.org have forums and message boards where people suffering from all different types of depression and situations can congregate online. People can participate in ongoing conversations about living with their type of depression, depression treatments, safe plans, etc.

Some depression sufferers have discovered the virtues of having a safety plan that they can implement the moment they begin to experience depressed or suicidal thoughts and tendencies. For some, keeping a suicide hotline or a best friend on speed-dial might work; others might get on their favorite forum or chat room and talk to other people who have experienced similar feelings and emotions. Still other persons will have easy access to a chat service.

The important thing for anyone who suffers from depression to know is that help is available. Someone who understands what an individual is going through is just a call away for a depression hotline or available via internet chats, email or other medium. If you are battling depression PLEASE reach out for help for your sake and the sake of those who love you.


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