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Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Nov;99(11):1901-1906. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.06.030. Epub 2016 Jun 27.

The experiences of frequent users of crisis helplines: A qualitative interview study.

Author information

1
Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address: a.middleton@unimelb.edu.au.
2
Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
3
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To understand why some users call crisis helplines frequently.

METHODS:

Nineteen semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with callers to Lifeline Australia who reported calling 20 times or more in the past month and provided informed consent. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive thematic analysis was used to generate common themes. Approval was granted by The University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee.

RESULTS:

Three overarching themes emerged from the data and included reasons for calling, service response and calling behaviours. Respondents called seeking someone to talk to, help with their mental health issues and assistance with negative life events. When they called, they found short-term benefits in the unrestricted support offered by the helpline. Over time they called about similar issues and described reactive, support-seeking and dependent calling behaviours.

CONCLUSION:

Frequent users of crisis helplines call about ongoing issues. They have developed distinctive calling behaviours which appear to occur through an interaction between their reasons for calling and the response they receive from the helpline.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

The ongoing nature of the issues prompting frequent users to call suggests that a service model that includes a continuity of care component may be more efficient in meeting their needs.

KEYWORDS:

Crisis helplines; Experience of care; Frequent callers; Health service use; Qualitative research

PMID:
27401827
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2016.06.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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