Man Survives Half Hour Wait On Montreal’s Suicide Hotline, Is The Service A Success Or A Failure?

Suicide rates are climbing yearly. People are killing themselves over varied reasons, many of which can be resolved or the suicide avoided if they just talk to someone. That’s where the suicide hotline comes into the picture. But what if the bereaved caller isn’t greeted with a friendly voice at the other end of the line?

A man ended making multiple phone calls to Montreal’s suicide hotline, but each try, save the last, ended up with a recorded message! The man, whose first name is John, said it took six phone calls to get through to someone on Suicide Action Montreal’s overnight hotline, reported RCI. The service has profusely apologized for the same, but no action has so far been taken to remedy the clearly disastrous situation.

John says he made his first call for help at 4:46 a.m. and was promptly forwarded to a recorded message.

Narrating his incident, John said,

“My first call was met with … a prerecorded message telling me that they could not take my call and to call back later.”

It took John six attempts and about half an hour to finally land himself a human at the other end of the line. His last successful attempt to talk to someone happened at 5:10 a.m. Impressively, John has lived to tell the tale and even managed to joke about the incident.

“I understand it’s a lack of resources, but do something about it or don’t call yourself a 24-hour hotline. Call yourself a maybe 24-hour hotline.”

John says he owes his life to a supportive wife and family, who will counsel him through difficult moments when he can’t get professional help. But he is rightly concerned about those who are at risk and have no one to talk them out of taking the drastic step.

“I think that some people would not be calling for half an hour …. They would just lose faith as soon as they hit that…. automated message.”

Montreal’s suicide hotline has taken a serious note of the same, reported CA Times. The authorities confirmed that during that time only a single person mans the hotline for the entire city of Montreal. Speaking about the whole incident, Sharon Casey, a trainer and consultant at Suicide Action Montreal, said,

“We agree with him that this is really a problem. We don’t want this to happen to anyone.”

She even admitted that in the past three years, the number of calls to the hotline have gone up by about 30 percent. However, they can’t add personnel owing to shortage of funds.

[Image Credit| Payphone Project]