What is your advice for daily life

Telephone counseling: Corona crisis drives demand

Dusseldorf. Loneliness, depression and thoughts of suicide: The Corona crisis has led to a sharp increase in requests for help on electronic telephone counseling channels.

The chat conversations of the 20 telephone counseling locations in the area of ​​the Rhenish Church alone increased by more than a third (35 percent) to 6,426 in the Corona year 2020, said the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. There was also an increase from 28 percent to more than 10,400 in e-mail contacts. The on-site discussions had increased from 786 in 2019 to 1207 last year.

"The pastoral telephones were particularly popular during the lockdowns," said Pastor Volker Bier, Protestant director of the Saar pastoral care telephone. In many places the church has doubled the occupation and extended service hours.

Corona dictates life

Thematically, the mostly volunteer workers in telephone counseling are observing a shift. Only the corona virus is no longer the issue, but the consequences for daily life, said Michael Hillenkamp from the Dortmund telephone counseling. "For example, it is now about the fact that grandma has not yet been vaccinated." Others are also afraid of a vaccination and therefore sought advice, adds Rosemarie Schettler from the Duisburg-Mülheim-Essen telephone counseling. "It burdens people that Corona dictates our lives, they are very unhappy."

Young people are also particularly affected. They are more likely to use the chat facility offered by telephone counseling and report anxiety. "Young people have a depressed mood and often suffer from the fact that there is no prospect," says Hillenkamp. Their circles of friends fall apart and they feel in a conflict between private interests and the strict Corona rules. "Social life dies before the eyes of the young people," said Hillenkamp.

This can also be seen in the total numbers of the Rhenish Church. The need for discussion on the subject of depression increased at the mail pastoral care. The on-site discussions were increasingly about the subject of suicide. Most of the 40 to 60-year-olds, including many women, contacted the pastoral care by telephone. Loneliness is the dominant topic on the phone, a kind of "underlying disease" of society, said Bier.

Thoughts of suicide dominate chats

14- to 29-year-olds often expressed suicidal thoughts and mainly used the chat. The subject of suicide is dominated by contacts via chat and email. Around 40 percent of those looking for contact in the chat are diagnosed with a mental illness - an increase of 15 percent compared to 2019. "An irritating and terrifying insight into the world of young people today," said Bier.

The area of ​​the Rhenish Church includes parts of the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland. (dpa)

Help with thoughts of suicide

If you are thinking of killing yourself, try talking about it to other people. There are a variety of offers of help where you can talk to other people about your thoughts - also anonymously.

This can be done by phone, chat, email or in person.

The telephone counseling is anonymous, free and available around the clock. The phone numbers are 0 800 / 111 0 111 and 0 800 / 111 0 222.

The call to the telephone counseling is not only free of charge, it does not appear on the telephone bill, nor in the itemized statement.

The offer of one also comes from the telephone counseling Help chats. Registration takes place on the Telephone counseling website. You can also enter the chat room without an appointment, with a little luck an advisor will be available. In any case, it works with a booked appointment.

The third offer of telephone counseling is the possibility of Email advice. You can log on to the telephone counseling site and write your messages and read the counselors' answers. In this way, the e-mail traffic does not appear in your normal mailboxes.