Calling a helpline

Calling a helpline is an accessible way to get the support you need. Learn more about what to expect when contacting a helpline and the kinds of help they can provide. If you feel like calling a helpline isn't suitable for what you're going through, the good news is that there are also other methods of support available.

This may be helpful if: 

  • You are worried about calling a helpline
  • You are curious about how helplines work
  • You are wondering if a helpline can help you with a problem

phone call

Reasons to call a helpline

There are lots of reasons why calling a helpline can be useful. You can get immediate support and advice from a counsellor without having to make an appointment or travel. You don’t have to give your name, and most helplines don’t cost anything. People also see helplines as a great way to feel in control of the situation. Telephone counsellors can even direct you to other services that might be useful for your particular problem. Remember that it is completely normal to call a helpline - no problem is too big or small!

People call helplines with lots of different problems. Some of these include:
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Family problems
  • Friendship problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Not having anyone else to turn to
  • Mental illness
  • Bullying
  • Abuse from a partner or parent

What can I expect from calling a helpline?

What happens first?
When you call a helpline, you will probably hear a pre-recorded message about the service you have called. Depending on the time and helpline, you might have to wait a few minutes until a counsellor is available. 

Who will answer my call?
A trained telephone counsellor will answer your call. People who work at helplines have extensive training in talking to young people and helping them with a variety of issues. 

What will they ask me?
Your telephone counsellor will ask you questions about your situation to best understand what you need. Calls can last for a few minutes to an hour. They won’t ask you for your last name, address, or any information that you could be identified by. You don’t even need to say your first name if you don’t want to. 

How can they help?
The counsellor you speak to will listen to your problem carefully. They may help you to work out possible solutions. Or they might tell you about services near you which know more about your particular issue, or are able to help you in a long-term. 

Getting further help

Some problems require more assistance than a helpline can give. If this is the case for you, consider speaking to your GP. They may be able to help, or refer you to other services if this is needed. School counsellors or university counselling services can also be a great source of regular face-to-face support for all problems, not just issues with your studies. 

If those options don’t work for you, perhaps you could consider confiding in a friend, family member or trusted adult. Remember, realising that you need help and asking for it is the first step towards feeling better.  

What can I do now?