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If you need a Professional Helpline, find those listed in our Alternative Resources area.

But sometimes,... wouldn't it be nice if there was a Helpline where you could talk to a familiar friend?  Sometimes all we need is friendly support, and it's a bit less threatening than talking to a stranger.

So... here are 3 options for a Friend's Helpline:

Mike’s Friend’s HelpLine

This is a helpline specifically created for Mike Cole's Kootenay friends.  If you belong on this, then simply ask anyone that's already on our HelpLine to add you!


Your Friend’s HelpLine

This is a helpline that you create for your community of friends!  Just like Mike’s!  The more Friend's HelpLines the better!! (Anyone can do this but teens may especially respond well to having their own helpline.)

How do I set it up?  Simply get the Signal App on your phone.  Choose "New Group".  Add as many friends as you want.  Then you'll name the group.  Then it's done!  Now write up the intro you want to explain to people how your helpline works.  (You can see what I wrote here.)  Anyone on the thread can add friends.  When more friends are added, repost the intro so that new people see how it works.  Done!  So simple!  (Scroll down for more details.)


Everyone’s HelpLine

"7 Cups of Tea" is essentially a worldwide friend helpline that everyone can join to both give support or get support.   Join here.  "7 Cups of Tea" has been featured on CBC as a good resource for emotional distress.

  • The Concept:  Most of us have a problematic tendency to self-isolate when we are really struggling.  Self-isolation is the opposite of what we usually need, and the antidote is to reach out to someone.  We can’t force anyone to reach out, but we can offer another way to make it easier to do.  Although there are professional crisis lines, the idea here is that you’ll get non-professional, friendly support through someone that you know - a friend.

  • The Vision: The vision is for people who are struggling to easily feel that friends are there for them, listening, caring, holding space and understanding that they are not alone. 

  • The Platform: The helpline is simply a group you create on the Signal platform.  You can add as many people as you want.

  • How does it work?  Once you get a critical mass of people on your helpline (about 10 or more), once you message your helpline, even if most of the friends are not able to help (we all have our valid reasons), there will still be someone that can help.

  • How do I reach out on the helpline?  There are 3 ways to reach out.  One, just send your message to the group.  Two, since everyone on the group is there to help, you can just choose one or more people to message them directly.  Three, if you want to message the group anonymously, pick someone you feel comfortable with and ask them to post your message.  Then once you see who responded, you can pick who to connect with from the folks that responded.

  • What kind of things could I say? “I need help” or “I could really use a friendly ear right now” or “Is there someone available that could just hold space for me right now?”

  • What the helpline is not for: chatting (chat offline). 

  • What to expect from your helpline friends: We expect you to come to the group chat as your authentic and compassionate self. This is a space that emphasises speaking to others with respect, believing in the essential goodness of each soul, and honouring different worldviews and cultures. 

  • What NOT to expect from your helpline friends: Therapy.  Also don’t expect that they’ll be able to give whatever help you’re asking for - we all have our limits, regardless of the love we feel for another person.

  • What to do if it’s too much to hold what the caller is sharing: If someone’s experience is too much for you to hold, say so.  If someone wants help that you can’t give, say so.  It’s essential that you only give what you can.  Be true to your boundaries.  And then, refer that person to another friend, a resource (eg therapist, crisis line, etc) or suggest they reach out to someone else on the helpline.  

  • Note: The helpline is a service that will work, but at first, people might feel shy to be the first people to use it.  So, it will take the first few brave souls to model how it works and that it is an awesome service.  Once people get the hang of it, it will be used more and with more ease.

  • If you need a break from the Helpline: If you do not have space to support, feel free to put the notifications on silent. We do not expect you to be available 24/7, we simply hope that you can hold space when you feel able. We will all do the same for you.

  • Pro Tip: If you feel particularly well resourced, feel free to post that (you might inspire someone to reach out because they now know that someone in that moment is truly available). 

  • Pro Tip: Occasionally, post random uplifting things (this reminds people of the helpline and is supportive).

  • Pro Tip: If you can’t help the person directly, you could also simply post a reply of caring and support (eg “I’m so glad to know you reached out, Bob (or “anonymous person”) and although I can’t help right now, I just want to let you know I care.”).

Holding Hands

“A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.”

— Winnie the Pooh


Hands Up

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
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