We’re big fans of Papyrus & their HOPELINEUK support service. We spend a lot of time talking about the benefits of helplines in general. Sometimes, connecting with someone who’s entirely separate to your situation can help give a new perspective. It can help you figure out a solution you might not have seen before. Or it can just be a good place to vent. But it might seem a little daunting. NOT TO WORRY! We spoke to some of the wonderful team who are on the other end of HOPELINEUK to get an idea of what happens when you call Papyrus.
Btw, if you were wondering, Papyrus are all about the prevention of young suicide. If you’re thinking of suicide, or you’re worried about someone, they’re available on the phone: 0800 068 41 41, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or even via text: 07860 039967.
We get it. It can be scary ringing up & speaking to someone you don’t know. But honestly? It’s kind of a good thing..! You’re in control. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. When you call Papyrus, you don’t have to give your name. You can give a different name, or just not give one altogether. So you don’t have to worry about anyone recognising or judging you. You could leave some sort of identifier, like a code word, if you want to. This means if you call again, you don’t have to repeat yourself, you can just share your code word, and they can pull up where you got to last time.
A safety plan is.. well.. a plan to help keep you safe! You’ll chat through your situation with the person on the other end of the phone, and if you’re up for it, work together to build a plan to keep you safe. This will include thinking of things you can do, people you can talk to and resources you can access (plus a bunch more!). The HOPELINEUK staff will then type all this up & share it with you in a secure way.
If you’re after a self-harm specific safety plan, we’ve got one available on our Resources page.
Kinda linked to the safety plan here, but it’s important to say. There’s not a ‘one size fits all‘ approach. So, when you call Papyrus, you’ll be working with them to figure out the things that are going to help you specifically. If you feel comfortable talking about your situation in a bit more depth, they’ll be able to help you figure out a more specific solution. It might be that you already have things in your life that are helpful to you! Sometimes just talking & exploring this with someone you don’t know can help make you aware of the good things in your life, and what to focus on doing more of!
It’s not about moving mountains overnight. It’s about taking things one step at a time, and breaking things down into manageable actions. Maybe that’s making some small steps towards reconnecting with people in your support network. Or maybe it’s thinking of little acts of self-care you can do every day. It might be that you call a few times before you actually get to making that safety plan we mentioned above. There’s zero pressure. No-one’s going to rush you. If you want to talk for 30 seconds the first time you call just to find out what it’s like, and then call back for a longer chat another time, that’s totally chill.
The best way to contact HOPELINEUK is to call them (that number is: 0800 068 41 41). This is because it means they can speak directly with you and offer guidance and support straight away. But if you’re not up for talking on the phone, you can always text or email. Doing it this way will mean there’s a bit of a delay in getting back to you (legit; just typing up the reply can take a while!) but if that’s how you feel most comfortable talking, it can be a good first step to build up to talking on the phone.
Ultimately, when you call Papyrus through the HOPELINEUK service, you’re in control. You can hang up when you want to. And you can share as much or as little as you want to. It might seem scary to ring and speak to a stranger, but if the end result is a plan for keeping you safe, and some steps to take towards you feeling better, then it’s definitely worth being brave and picking up the phone!