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During holidays, compassion is a phone call away

Posted November 27, 2014

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— For many people, the holidays are a time of joy. But for some, they can be reminders of troubles they are facing.

That’s why Amy Wright spent part of her Thanksgiving volunteering at Hopeline, a phone hotline to help those who are in crisis or contemplating suicide.

“I am hearing that you are not sure where to go from here,” she says to a caller.

Margaux Austin, executive director of Hopeline, said she’s thankful for volunteers like Wright.

"During the holiday season, it gets extremely busy,” she said. “A lot of people are stressed financially, family issues come up, relationship issues. All of them are feeling hopeless.”

Hopeline gets about 450 calls a month, and Austin says that increases by 25 percent from November to January. Trained volunteers answer the phones not to offer advice, but compassion.

Still, there are never enough volunteers for every call.

"I think that is one of my biggest scares. When someone reaches out to us and we don’t pick up that phone, what happens?” Austin said.

That’s the reason Amy Wright was in an empty office on Thanksgiving when she could have been with her family.

“Today, people are probably having a very hard day, and they need somebody to be there,” she said.

Visit Hopeline's website for resources to help those in crisis.


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