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A suicide crisis hotline is charging me money for their services!

A couple weeks ago, an anonymous person called the police and mental health care center because they were concerned about some Facebook posts I’d made. I still have no idea who called in. Long story short, an officer showed up at around 11 pm (after I had gone to bed) and told me why he was here. I was shocked. I answered his questions. He asked if I’d talk to someone from the crisis center. I didn’t feel a need to talk to them, but to comply with the officer’s request, I did so. Everything was determined to be fine, the officer left, and I thought that was the end of it. I come to find out the crisis center wants to charge me $123 for the 15-20 minute phone call, along with the 3 follow up calls THEY insisted on doing. Apparently they charge for assessments over the phone. I had no idea this was an assessment. The officer had just asked, “If I would talk to someone from the crisis center on the phone.” I’m not paying for this. I was under the impression the phone call would be free, both because it was a law enforcement officer who told me to call, and because it’s a suicide crisis center. Even on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website, where it has a link to your local center, it gives the assumption the phone call is free. To me, this is SO wrong. People call the center either because they are suicidal, or because they are concerned about someone who is. As for me, I’m pissed off. But, for someone else, who really did need their help, receiving a bill from them could push them over the edge. I feel so sad for the desperate hurting people who finally have the courage to call them, only to be treated like I’ve been treated. On the bright side, I finally talked to someone who is filing a grievance complaint for me, explaining the situation. I’m hoping they drop the charges after this, but the lady on the phone said it’s only a 50/50 chance. They said I may be able to pay less based on income. That’s nice, but I’m not giving you a penny. There was NO informed consent about me having to pay for their services. I was NOT in any danger. I was woken up by the police officer and lost sleep when I had to work the next morning! I will take this to the CEO of the health care center if i have to. I am so angry. You do not put your center on the National Suicide Prevention site, giving the impression the call is free, and then charge someone for an “assessment” over the telephone. Without EVER telling the person that merely talking to them on the phone will constitute a charge. But even that, a suicide crisis center should not be billing people for merely talking on the phone! (I understand if someone has to be taken to their facility for their safety or to see a therapist. But that’s different.) A place that is supposed to help people has left me more stressed out than before I talked to them. This is the only suicide crisis center/hotline in my area. Maybe God allowed this to happen so I can be an agent of change. So that I can advocate for how wrong this is and perhaps the organization will change their policies. That’s the only thing that is bringing me solace in all of this. If good can come out of this, and someone else doesn’t have to experience what I have, my suffering will have been worth it.

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@NomadicWanderer

I’m really sorry you have to deal with this. I’m personally really shocked to hear that. Indeed, these services are meant to be free. I have no doubt that this situation is very rare and is the result of a mistake or misunderstanding, but it shouldn’t happen once.

Crisis lines are so important and life saving. Thankfully, this kind of situation is certainly an exception. But it sucks to have to deal with this.

Well, in my opinion, this justification is very foggy. I don’t really understand what chance has to do with it, but I get why this can become a 1vs1 argument. You were not informed, before doing this, that it was charged. I want to believe that a mistake has been made. Which is still a huge problem, indeed. It sounds that, when you were talking to someone on this crisis line, they did a mistake by not asking your consent. For which reason, I don’t know, but what matters is the result.

I don’t know how it works in US, but where I live in Belgium, social workers (and volunteers, such as in those services) have to respect a deontology code. And a main point is informing the person and having their consent for absolutely everything. Just because it’s a root for trust. And it’s a way to really work together.

Could be also interesting to contact the National Suicide Prevention lifeline website to explain that, maybe, there’s a center here that doesn’t respect their policy. So they could check on them.

It seems like there’s a dysfunction somewhere, and I’m really sorry you’re in the middle of this. The reality of institutions (of any kind) can interfere sometimes with how services are provided. I’ve seen it on both sides and I really understand the frustration that it causes. I hope they’ll be understanding about the situation and value your interests first.

I Am so sorry you went through this but in today’s society any type of threat is taken very seriously and anything can be used in a court of law please be extra careful what you post on social media because law enforcement is involved. I recommend calling Boys Town National Hotline they have been around for many years and they are a 100% Free, 1-800-448-3000 they are wonderful and they don’t judge.

I didn’t make any outright threats. I never said I was going to do anything to myself. But certain things I said such as, “I’m done”, someone interpreted it the wrong way. I didn’t outright say I was going to do anything to myself. The least this person could have done is reached out and asked what I meant by my posts or if I actually planned on doing anything to myself. Instead of taking drastic measures and calling the police. I understand why they did. But now I have this mess to clean up. The bright side is I’ve had it on my heart to pray for police officers for a long time. And I never could get myself to go up and pray for one in public. So God sent one to me and I got to pray for them when they came to my apartment. God used it for good. :blush: He’ll come through in this. Even if it’s hard right now.

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I’m still feeling so stressed over this. I feel like this is going to be a long drawn out thing. I called today to ask about the status of my grievance/complaint, but they don’t know yet. It makes me so upset that I am this stressed due to someone else’s actions. And the person who called the police still hasn’t revealed who they are, over two weeks later! I’m not upset at them, I’m upset at our sorry excuse of a suicide crisis center. I keep thinking positively. This will be used for good. I will use this experience to try to create change so this doesn’t happen to someone else again. But this feeling of stress won’t go away. I hate this. Pray that God will help me fix my eyes on Him and His purposes and His will in all of this. And that that would dissipate the stress. Or at least make it worth it.

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