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Fri Sep 21, 2018, 12:15 PM

What It's Like To Work At A Suicide Crisis Hotline

The crisis center is a small office space in the heart of Memphis with four phones and nearly 100 volunteers who work in shifts. The local crisis line serves Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas, but volunteers are also connected to a couple national hotlines and field calls from across the country. There’s usually only one volunteer per shift, so the work is busy yet solitary.

Across the country, the suicide rate is up more than 25 percent, per a June report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017 alone, volunteers at the Memphis Crisis Center handled 21,000 calls from people in distress and de-escalated situations ranging from domestic abuse to self-harm.

We sat down with Crouch to discuss a typical day at the crisis center and the challenges this local organization faces on the eve of its 50th anniversary.


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