Online chatting is a good and free way to get help without having to talk to someone face to face or over the phone. You can feel safe to tell it all to trained listeners behind the safety of your computer or mobile device. If you are worried about someone finding out your identity online, there are Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that hide your online identity and allow you chat safely. Every day many people opt to use VPNs to browse online anonymously (even on public wifi) and to legally gain access to blocked sites. They are generally very user friendly and the sign up process is usually quite quick. You can find trusted VPNs > HERE
Sometimes we just need to get away from it all and its not possible in real life. In your virtual life however you can go anywhere you want, do anything you want and be anyone you want. It’s a great place to take a load off when you need a distraction. Join a free 3D virtual world > HERE
Note: Use this as a mild distraction only. This is not a substitute for suicide hotlines, suicide chats or professional therapy.
IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
Online suicide prevention chats are usually open to anyone who is depressed, overwhelmed, going through a difficult situation, having trouble coping, taking safety precautions, or just need someone to talk to. Some chats are open to anyone of any age and any sex, while others are targeted to specific demographics (eg: a Teenchat might be targeted strictly toward teens, a Veteranchat might be targeted strictly toward veterans). To find out if a specific chat is right for you, you should read their terms.
BENEFITS OF AN ONLINE SUICIDE PREVENTION CHAT
• Accessible - You can chat from your computer or from almost any mobile device
• Therapeutic - Although not necessarily as beneficial as actual therapy, talking to someone via an online suicide chat can be a great place to vent and get helpful advice about some of the issues that you may be facing. Online chatting can help to alleviate stress and even help you to put preventative measures in place.
• Free - There isn’t a cost attached to joining a suicide prevention chat
• Convenient - Even if someone else is close by, you can still chat online without them hearing your conversation
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SUICIDE PREVENTION CHAT
‣ The person you will be speaking with will not judge you
‣ The person you will be speaking with will be empathetic and understanding
‣ You are free to speak about whatever is bothering you
‣ You may be asked questions
Not all suicide prevention chats are available 24hrs a day. If the chat provider you choose is not available, please select another or call a hotline.
YOUR PRIVACY DURING A CHAT SESSION
Some online suicide prevention chats offer encryption to help protect your privacy. If you are really concerned about your privacy being compromised (from trackers, websites, hackers, internet service providers etc), you can simply use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
While you can opt to join a suicide prevention chat at any time, it may be best to ensure that you have a few undisturbed minutes, so that you can focus your attention on the chat. Try to use a strong and reliable internet connection.
ONLINE CHATTING PROTOCOL
‣ Try to be open and truthful
‣ Do not be abusive or disrespectful to the person you are chatting with
‣ Try to focus all your attention on the chat
‣ If something comes up that you have to tend to, you should either inform the person that you will be back shortly or terminate the chat
The above information is generalized and may not apply exactly to all chat services. Please read their individual terms to get a clearer view of their personal policies. There are many different suicide prevention chats services available online and no two are exactly alike. Different organizations have different techniques and while they all have the same overall goal, they may go about it in slightly different ways based on their own internal policies. Some organizations require all volunteers to be trained and certified in crisis intervention, while others do not. Generally speaking they are great ‘listeners’, and many find the service to be quite helpful and not overly intrusive. An online suicide prevention chat, although very therapeutic in nature, is NOT a substitute for professional therapy or medication.