I have been doing a lot of training lately for a sexual abuse center. I am learning how to be a volunteer on the phone. Basically I have to learn to listen and be supportive. I always thought I was a good listener, turns out I'm not. Well, not to strangers. So I have been really working on my tone, my wording, not giving opinions or advice, but really listening. I thought I was doing really well. Until I had to role play with a suicidal caller. It went something like this:
Me: Are you planning to kill yourself?
Caller: I already took pills.
Caller:...I'm just so tired....
Me: Ummm...I have to call the police....
So I pretty much let a caller die. Now, it's technically not my fault because people are in charge of their own lives but...it did NOT go the way I had hoped for. I'm kinda now known as the girl who let the fake caller die. Thankfully I have put in a lot of practice and tomorrow I have my second simulated call and I am convinced to have my caller live. I cant handle another simulated death on my conscience. Even though its fake it makes me worry about when I actually get a suicidal caller. For example if one of my friends said "I just want to die", I would probably respond with "Shut your face or I will murder you." You can't say that to a stranger whos life is dangling by a thread. Somehow it doesn't come across as "caring" or "supportive".
Also saying "there there" doesn't help suicidal callers either. Just a tip from me to you.