People of Action 11:30 21 May 2021

"I feel like a secret agent": how crisis psychologists work

Hotline work: when a psychologist calls the police, what to do with "silent calls" and how to help people with suicidal thoughts.

Invisible warriors, secret agents, life-saving voices. No, it's not about the characters of fantasy films. Superheroes, who can pull a person out of any life mess, are quite real. A crisis psychologist is someone who always listens and supports you in an emergency and helps you understand yourself better.

The National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and Gender Discrimination, run by the NGO La Strada-Ukraine, was launched in 1997. Initially, the hotline provided advice on preventing trafficking, but now it advises on virtually any pressing issue of domestic violence prevention, trafficking, gender discrimination, and other types of gender-based violence. In 2014, they launched counseling of additional call categories, such as protection of the rights and interests of internally displaced persons, protection of the rights and interests of the military and their families, inquiries from the temporarily occupied territories. Five years ago, the National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and Gender Discrimination became round-the-clock. During this period alone, more than 150,000 appeals were registered, and almost every one of these cases was a matter of health, life, or even death.

Principles of the National Hotline are voluntariness, anonymity, confidentiality, observance of human rights and freedoms, non-discrimination, and professionalism. It is the professionals who make up the crisis hotline's backbone. Everyone who calls here can get legal, psychological, and informational advice from a trained specialist according to their request and needs.

Anastasia Hlazkova, a psychologist, crisis consultant, and co-author of the "Parents Return from War" book, is one of the hotline specialists. She describes herself as follows: "A crisis counselor is not a tired person in headphones, but somebody who strives to live by values, loves their profession, contributes to the social sphere, and sees meaning in it. Everything I dreamed of in my profession until today has come true. Every day I continue to work and develop, to help, and dream. It's always not enough for me."

Анастасія Глазкова

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