Monday, 20 August 2018

Peer Support Line

Peer Support Line FAQ

Have a question about the Western Mass Peer Support Line?  Check below to see if it's answered, or e-mail us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



 What is the main purpose of the Peer Support Line?

The main purpose of the Peer Support Line is to provide a listening ear and an opportunity to connect and talk with someone else who also identifies as having experienced some real challenges and interruptions in their own lives. The idea behind the line is that there are ways to not be alone in your distress and to think about how to move forward.The line is also open to people looking to gather resource information.


Is there any evidence to suggest that Peer Support Lines and warmlines help?

Yes, warmlines like the David Romprey Warmline in Oregon have tracked qualitative data including whether or not the person calling feels the call was helpful, and their research suggests that over 80% of people calling their warmline do feel that the call was a positive experience. (Visit the data pages on their website for more details.)  Experience has also demonstrated that many people who are afraid to call a crisis line for fear of being forced into hospitalization or other treatment ARE willing to call a Peer Support Line or Warmline, thus providing an opportunity to work through something before it gets worse and the risk of undesired interventions become more likely. Other research has focused on the way that the existence of warmlines and peer support lines can be helpful to clinicians on crisis lines. For example, one research study found that the existence of these lines also creates space for clinicians on crisis lines to do their job more effectively by being able to focus on calls that are really about evaluation for hospitalization and other traditional services. (Visit the National Empowerment Center's website for more information.)  


Is the Peer Support Line anonymous?  

It is our intent to have the Peer Support Line be anonymous. We do not support caller ID, and will not ask you to disclose your real name or location if you do not wish to do so. (It's always helpful to have a first name for conversation, but it doesn't have to be your real name!) Of course, if you are calling from Massachusetts, it's always possible that you'll know the person answering the Peer Support Line from other places. If that happens, the Peer Support Line worker can offer you information for other lines. You can also call the number and select the option for a recording with information about other lines, or look here. Please note that not all Warmlines and Peer Support Lines in the country are fully anonymous, as some of them have caller ID. Dialing *67 before you dial their number may help block your number from their system.


Do you take calls from people outside of Massachusetts?

Yes.  Although our main focus in developing this line has been Western Mass, we accept calls from anyone throughout the country.


Why are your hours so limited?

Currently, we only have enough funding for 16 hours per week. Our hope is to eventually be open every day from 8pm to 12am and possibly for more hours each day. However, any expansion will be based on our ability to raise funds. In the meantime, the hours we do offer are based on the Western Mass Warmline coalitions input and hours available through other lines. We also took into account that fewer resources in general are available on weekends and that there are more holidays (and hence, closures of other resources) on Mondays than any other day of the week.


Can I call the Peer Support Line if I'm feeling suicidal?

Yes. You can call the Peer Support Line with anything that may be going on for you, if you feel that talking with someone else and being heard may be helpful to where you're at. We will not try to trick you into disclosing personal information and will not pass you on to a crisis line, unless that is the support that you feel will be most helpful to you.


What sort of training do the Peer Support Line workers have?

Western Mass Peer Support Line workers who were hired when we first opened had the benefit of going through a full week of Intentional Peer Support training, as well as a two-day supplemental training on the practicalities of working the Peer Support Line itself. People hired after that initial period are trained by existing workers using the same concepts and approach, and will also have access to future training refreshers as they are available.


How well do Peer Support Line Workers know area resources?

The knowledge of each Peer Support Line Worker varies based on their own lived experience, their training and their time spent helping others connect to available community offerings. However, each Peer Support Line worker has access to resource books and a computer so that they can partner with you to find resources that may meet your needs and wants.


Is the Peer Support Line a good place to call to access other RLC resources like the peer respite?

Not really. The Peer Support Line Workers will be able to offer you information about other RLC resources like the peer respite (Afiya), RLC centers and other offerings, just like they will be able to offer you information about other non-RLC-based resources. However, the person answering the phone will not be able to begin the process of coming into Afiya, sign you up for a training or take your RSVP to an event. In those instances, you'll need to call person or place connected to that activity or process.


Will the Peer Support Line ever be adding hours?

Our hope is to eventually be open every day, and possibly for longer hours. However, any expansion will be based on our ability to raise funds. We do not have those funds secured at this time and do not have a timeline for when expansion will be possible.


Is the Peer Support Line accessible to people who speak other languages?

At present, we do have one person trained to answer the Peer Support Line who is able to speak Spanish and we hope to have another person trained soon. However, we do not have regular, scheduled hours that are accessible to people who speak Spanish or other languages. There are two lines available to Massachusetts residents who have stated that they are able to regularly offer supports in Spanish. They include the Allegheney Warmline in Pennsylvania, and the Empowerment Center Warmline in New York. To find out more about these lines, please visit this page.


How can I get involved in helping to expand the Peer Support Line?

One of the best ways to help us demonstrate the need for the Peer Support Line is to help spread the word so more people are calling and trying it out. Here's a copy of our flyer, if you want to post it as you go through your daily travels. Additionally, you can get involved in the Western Mass Warmline Coalition which meets quarterly to talk about how the line is developing and how to support its growth.


How are you connected to the Western Mass Warmline Coalition?

The Western Mass Warmline Coalition is facilitated by the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community, with membership from several organizations (the Center for Human Development, Carson Center, ServiceNet, etc.) and people in the community. The Coalition started meeting well before the Peer Support Line got up and running and was instrumental in the visioning process.  Initially, they met monthly but have recently moved to quarterly meetings to check in on progress and support future growth. If you are interested in being a part of the Western Mass Warmline Coalition, contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ask to be added to the e-mail list.


Why did you choose the name 'Western Mass Peer Support Line' instead of 'Western Mass Warmline'?

After much discussion, many members of the Western Mass Warmline Coalition and others in our community agreed that 'warmline' suggested something less serious or derivative of a 'hotline' or crisis line. In reality, people sometimes call warmlines in a great deal of distress and really important connections with a great deal of depth can be made. Calling a warmline as opposed to a crisis line is generally more about wanting a different type of suppoort and/or having a different goal for the outcome of the call, than about it being less serious or important of a call. Hence, we decided to use the term 'peer support line' rather than 'warmline' in an effort to avoid feeding into that.





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