Alana* received a flyer with StarVista’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline number on it after she attended a school presentation on suicide prevention and intervention by StarVista’s Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center. At first, Alana wasn’t sure if she would need the flyer, but she decided to take it anyway. Little did Alana know that the flyer she almost left behind would play a vital role during a challenging moment in her life.
A few months later, Alana found out that her aunt had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was struggling to accept the diagnosis. In a phone call, Alana’s aunt shared openly about her struggles to understand life after the diagnosis and expressed feeling hopeless and without motivation to keep living. Alana was in shock.
As she was trying to process her aunt’s situation, Alana recalled the Crisis Center presentation and reflected upon the early signs and symptoms of suicide that she had learned about. In addition to hearing her aunt talk about feeling hopeless, she also noted that her aunt discussed feeling her diagnosis would be a burden to the rest of the family and was overwhelmed by having to ask others for support. Alana remembered being told by a StarVista presenter about the importance of asking directly about suicide. After Alana asked, her aunt began to cry as she replied “yes” and asked her niece for help.
Grabbing the Crisis Center flyer she kept in her bag, Alana immediately called StarVista’s Crisis Hotline for support. A crisis line counselor received Alana’s call and provided emotional support to her by listening without judgment and exploring coping strategies. The crisis line counselor also encouraged Alana to share the crisis line number directly with her aunt, so that she may call when feeling overwhelmed by her feelings of hopelessness. Alana and the crisis counselor also spoke about her desire to help her aunt practice resilience and work through her diagnosis.
Later in the conversation, a crisis counselor provided resources and referrals to Alana. She received information on caretaker support groups and chronic illness support groups hosted by one of StarVista’s community partners. Additionally, the crisis line counselor discussed referrals for individual counseling and Alana requested a referral to another StarVista program, the StarVista Counseling Center, which could provide individual therapy to help her cope with her fears and worries associated with this family change. At the end of the call, Alana shared that she was very grateful for the support she received from the crisis line, and she felt comforted knowing she could call back anytime for additional support.
*Name changed to protect client confidentiality