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Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions about the Lifeline service are listed below. Please click on a question to read the answer.
When you call Lifeline you will speak to a counsellor who will listen to you and give you help and support. You can remain completely anonymous if you want to. It is entirely your choice whether or not to share your personal details with a Lifeline counsellor.
If you do provide your personal details then Lifeline can offer you more help, support and services. Click here to find out more about the type of services offered through Lifeline. Before you share your personal contact details the Lifeline counsellor will explain how this information will be handled.
The Lifeline counsellor may decide that sharing some information outside of Lifeline is necessary because you are (or someone you know is) at serious risk of harm. In this situation the Lifeline counsellor will discuss this with you in the hope that you can agree to share your personal details with support services outside of Lifeline.
In some exceptional circumstances, a Lifeline counsellor may make the decision to share information outside of the Lifeline service without the consent (but with the knowledge) of the caller in order to protect life. For example, Lifeline may share your personal details with emergency services by calling an ambulance in order to save your life.
Remember, you can remain completely anonymous and talk with a Lifeline counsellor, without giving your details, if you wish.
No. Calls to Lifeline are not recorded on itemised phone bills. Calls returned from Lifeline are done so using ‘withheld number’ so the Lifeline telephone number will not show up on a mobile phone log or be discovered by using the 1571 phone service.
Calls to Lifeline are free to people living in Northern Ireland who are calling from UK landlines and mobiles.
If you are (or someone you know is) in immediate physical danger through self-harm and in need of urgent medical attention then please call emergency services on 999. When you are (or the person you know is) out of immediate danger it would be a good idea to contact Lifeline for help, support and useful services to move forward and recover. You can contact Lifeline before you contact emergency services but you will get medical help faster if you phone emergency services directly on 999.
Counselling provides a regular time to discuss the problems you have in detail with a counsellor. Your counsellor will help you find solutions or options to help you move forward and cope with what is happening in your life. It’s often a relief to talk openly to someone you don’t know about your problems, in confidence.
At times we turn to our family, friends or significant people in our lives to talk through things that are troubling us or causing concern. Counselling is similar; however the focus of the relationship is to support you. You don’t have to worry about how the person you are talking to is feeling or to support them in return for their help. Face-to-face counselling will typically be for one hour a week.
When you call Lifeline you can speak to a trained counsellor who will listen to you and give you the help and support you need, in confidence. The Lifeline counsellor can then arrange for you to access counselling. If you are already receiving counselling on a regular basis the Lifeline counsellor can advise you on how to get the most out of counselling.
It may be the case that a form of support other than counselling may be more effective for you. Click here to read more about the full range of services offered through Lifeline
All counsellors are qualified to diploma level in counselling
When you call Lifeline you can speak to a qualified and experienced counsellor who will listen to you and give you the help and support you need, in confidence.
Follow-up support services for people of all ages are also available through Lifeline. A Lifeline counsellor will help you to identify what type of support will meet your individual needs. This may include helping you to get support or services from a GP, health visitor, social worker, psychiatrist, youth worker, teacher, clergy, family, friends or the emergency services.
Counselling provides a regular time to discuss the problems you have in detail with a counsellor. Your counsellor will help you find solutions or options to help you move forward and with what is happening in your life. It's often a relief to talk openly to someone you don't know about your problems in confidence.
You can find out more about the full range of services offered by calling Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 and speaking to one of the trained counsellors.
Lifeline counsellors will encourage callers under the age of 18 to seek additional support from their parents or main carer. However, we understand that you may be worried that telling a parent or carer might place you at further risk. In this case alternative options can be explored to make sure you get all the support you need.
Remember, you can remain completely anonymous and talk to a counsellor without giving your details if you wish.
Prior to making a call to Lifeline, you (or the person you are worried about) may already be receiving other professional support. If this is the case, the counsellor will discuss and agree with you what information may be important to share with health professionals or other people who are involved in your life, such as a social worker, psychiatrist or teacher.
If you and a Lifeline counsellor decide that the most appropriate type of follow- up support for you is community face-to-face counselling, we will seek your permission to let your GP know that we intend to offer you a service.
Lifeline is here to help people living in Northern Ireland who are experiencing distress or despair. Lifeline counsellors are experienced in helping with many types of issues including suicide, self-harm, abuse, trauma, depression and anxiety. You can call about anything that might be troubling you.
Lifeline counsellors are experienced in dealing with all sorts of issues including supporting people who are feeling suicidal.
You may not feel that you are currently at risk of harming yourself but are worried about how you are coping. It is a good idea to seek help before you feel overwhelmed by your problems.
You may also want to visit www.mindingyourhead.info which is for those who are worried about poor mental health and would like to know how to maintain good mental health. It discusses how you can spot the symptoms of a potential mental health problem and suggests some simple ways to improve mental health. This website also provides a directory of services in Northern Ireland relating to a wide range of issues.
Everyone copes with life in different ways. The circumstances, events or relationships that one person struggles with, another person will find manageable. Seeking help is a sign of strength and shows that you are committed to making improvements in your life. Lifeline is here to help you.
Lifeline counsellors will not judge you or your actions. Lifeline counsellors will listen to you and support you without judgement. Our counsellors will help to identify the areas that are causing you concern and help you to consider how you can make changes.
Lifeline counsellors have supported people through a wide range of issues and life circumstances and whilst your situation will be individual we are likely to have supported someone with similar concerns.
You do not need to contact your GP before you call Lifeline.
Lifeline promotional materials can be downloaded here.
If you are unhappy about any aspect of the Lifeline service, have a suggestion for improvement or wish to make a compliment about a good service, then please complete the form, available here, and post or email to:
1st Floor, Lanyon Building
North Derby Street
Belfast, BT15 3HL