For Seniors Fighting Grief or Depression, Friendship Line is a Listening Ear

February 24, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Christian Science Monitor

A national crisis intervention hotline is providing specialized services to older adults in distress. The Friendship Line is currently the only accredited, free, 24-hour crisis hotline for seniors in the country, receiving approximately 8,000 to 8,500 calls a month. Founder Patrick Arbore, who also serves as director of elderly suicide prevention and grief-related services at the Institute on Aging in San Francisco, established the service in 1973 to offer older adults “a more inviting way to connect” than conventional suicide prevention hotlines. Run by trained staff and volunteers, the Friendship Line provides a variety of services via both incoming and outgoing calls, including suicide prevention, emotional support, and mental health check-ins. According to Arbore, listening to and connecting with callers is at the heart of the Friendship Line’s mission. “We really believe that even one person . . . providing meaningful conversation with a lonely older person can make all the difference between life and death,” he said.

Spark Extra! Visit the Friendship Line website.