“You’re here because you want to help. Even if it’s just to be a listening ear”
This volunteer spends her time at the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) suicide hotline answering calls from people who are in crisis.
She usually picks the evening or graveyard shift — when the hotline gets busy. Some callers are lonely, and just want to be heard. Others are even contemplating suicide.
“Being a good listener, you have to tell yourself this is not about you. It is about the caller.”
It’s important to stay calm, and show both empathy and sincerity in being present during conversations with troubled souls.
She recalls a compelling conversation with suicidal teenager “Anna”. When Anna called, she wasn’t sure if she would survive her exams, or even the year. She had no friends at school, and her unsympathetic family was critical of her. She had been contemplating suicide, and was standing on the ledge of a building.
After some care from the hotline volunteer, Anna was persuaded to return home, promising to call again. This is but one example of the crucial help received by people who call the hotline.
“Sometimes I think you find that somebody just wants to vent”
Suicide is preventable. If you know someone in Singapore who is thinking about it, get them to call SOS and find out what kind of support is available to them. If you are in distress or contemplating suicide, please call 1 800 221 4444 (services by SOS limited to Singapore only).
For other regions, please contact your local crisis hotline or emergency medical services.
‘Speak Up, Seek Help’ is the third episode of the While You Sleep social documentary series, featuring Singaporeans who work the graveyard shift. The five-episode series will also profile the extraordinary jobs of an animal rescue worker, embalmer, ambulance driver, and A&E medical staff.
While You Sleep is part of the Viddsee Voices project to develop original films that explore with local content creators issues commonly overlooked in our society.