Samaritans ending calls

S

Sweedie

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Mar 1, 2016
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#1
I phone the UK Samaritans a lot at the moment, on average a few times a week. Yes, I do feel suicidal, I'm diagnosed autistic and have chronic depression and anxiety - just to clarify that I'm not someone who just phones "for a chat" although I usually speak in a very matter-of-fact way, only phoned crying/started crying to them a few times.
Just now I spoke to someone who was nice enough. After an hour she started to try and end the conversation (we've been talking for an hour, do you feel any better? You know you can always call us). I would have liked to talk for longer but I sort of accepted this as my cue to leave. I wanted to say a few more things though so I did... rambled on a little for a few minutes. She was sort of like, "okay, I'm going to have to end this call now. If you want to call back you can but I'd advice you to think about this conversation first".
If the Samaritans do have an unofficial limit of an hour -and I've experienced this before, they definitely have a time limit although only a few adhere strictly to one hour, most will go about an hour and a half and try to end it more naturally around that time- why does the website say there isn't one? The website also says they can't hang up... but isn't abruptly saying "I have to end this call now" basically the same thing?
I've never been aggressive or abusive to Sams in any way, just to make that clear.
I realise there are shift changes, people's shifts end and so on... but why does the website imply there is no time limit given there does definitely seem to be?
As for the woman I spoke to - do you think she was just trying to stick to the unofficial time limit/her shift was ending? Or I'm wondering if it was because she felt she was distressing me/not helping and that the least damaging thing to do was ending the call?
(Which she kind of did, offer an opinion on something that I reacted in a distressed -not angry just confused/upset- way to, then I think she regretted it/realised she shouldn't have offered any opinion because it's like "advice").
So maybe she ended the call because she was like, "I done fucked up" and didn't know what to say/how to make the situation better?
Thoughts?
 
Unique1

Unique1

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#2
Hi Sweedee :welcome: to the forum.

unique xx
 
S

Stray

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#3
I don't think it's unreasonable to say after over an hour that they need to end the call, as long as it's done in a gentle way. They may have a high volume of calls. You can ring back again but I imagine that they do need to manage the length of a call after that long?
 
Rod Whiteley

Rod Whiteley

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#4
I'm not in any position to guess whether she felt the call wasn't helping, or there's an unofficial time limit, or her shift was about to end, or something else we haven't thought of.

Let's suppose she has some reason or other to think about ending the call. She has to make a difficult choice. If she chooses to tell you the reason in plain language you might feel she's trying to take control of your call. If she chooses to hint at the reason gently you might feel she's behaving in a mysterious way. There's no correct choice. In this case she chose to try and be gentle about it and ended up sounding mysterious.

Another thing that I notice is that you felt you would have liked to talk for longer but it doesn't sound like you felt you could express that to her in plain language either. This was after talking to her for an hour. An hour! And the matter that distressed you earlier doesn't sound like it was discussed openly and cleared up either.

All in all, I feel the same way you do about the whole thing—there's no way to tell what really happened now that the call has ended. When these situations arise you have only got a matter of seconds to process your feelings and blurt them out to the other person, so that they can respond. It can be really, really difficult to do this fast enough. Miss the opportunity, and you may never ever know what that other person was thinking.
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

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#5
The Samaritan's brief which entails they cannot give any 'advice' is very restrictive but understandable given that they aren't professionally trained in medical/psychiatric diagnosis. I imagine it must be incredibly stressful to listen to people relating their stories of appalling abuse, bad luck or terrifying mind-states without reacting emotionally and wanting to give advice. I don't think I could do it.

I've phoned the Samaritans many times in the past, once or twice simply because I was very scared and once because I was suicidal. Some of the volunteers I spoke to were excellent, others not so much, but it's hard to talk to someone for an hour or more and maintain your concentration.
 
neorealism

neorealism

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#6
Sometimes I do wanna get some advice and there is nobody to turn to. Current therapist is not much different to Samaritans/Breathing Space. Says nothing and I am supposed to chat away for an hour. It's soul destroying. Even the guy who talked for an hour and ran 20 minutes late always, wasn't as bad as my current one - at least he came up with some ridiculous shit about a racist being saved from drowning by a black man (I think it had something to do with human conditioning).
 
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