Who's Listening When You Call a Crisis Hotline

05 Apr, 2022

Who's Listening When You Call a Crisis Hotline

Today, well-intentioned hotlines and mental health centers are serving marginalized callers in their time of greatest need. Hannah Zeavin and Yana Calou's article "Who’s Listening When You Call a Crisis Hotline?" published in State of Mind discusses the algorithms and surveillance component to many of these hotlines, arguing that our use of technology in these spaces should not further exacerbate callers’ crises via surveillance and recourse to nonconsensual intervention. Ha

Quoted from the article:

"The recent Trans Lifeline caller’s story is no statistical aberration; patient advocacy groups have shown, time and time again, that callers who have police dispatched to their location often are saddled with unaffordable hospital bills, lose jobs, incur criminal records. Rather than having helpful interactions, many experience traumas that lead to increased suicide rates after psychiatric facility discharge and elevated risk for suicide in the year following psychiatric hospitalization. As studies show, even many years after forced hospitalization, the suicide rate remains approximately 30 times higher than typical global rates—and those who might be forced into hospitalization are likely to be at their most vulnerable. As suicide rates continue to increase, it’s important for hotline administrators to understand that these interventions do not prevent suicidality in the long term. In fact, they do the opposite."

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