Mental wellbeing in crisis line volunteers: understanding emotional impact of the work, challenges and resources. A qualitative study

Renate Catharina Wilhelmina Johanna Willems*, Constance Hélene Christine Drossaert, Patricia Vuijk, Ernst Thomas Bohlmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
530 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: : Crisis line volunteers are a valuable addition to formal care. Although there is growing evidence of decreased mental wellbeing of crisis line volunteers, a comprehensive overview of perceived emotional impact from the perspective of volunteers is lacking. Purpose: This study explores the emotional impact, the challenges that crisis line volunteers encounter, and the resources that they use to cope with these challenges. Method: : A grounded theory approach was used to explore the subjective experiences of the participants. Four focus groups with twentytwo active volunteers and eight interviews with former volunteers were conducted. Results: : Results provide an overview of emotions that volunteers experience in their work. (e.g., gratification, compassion, frustration, and powerlessness). Challenges are related to the characteristics of callers (e.g., inappropriate behaviour) and topics of the calls (e.g., suicidality). Resources to cope adequately with negative emotions are, among others, a self-compassionate attitude and good training. Conclusion: : This study highlights the importance of training of volunteers in dealing with specific callers, and gives input for the development of interventions aimed at increasing personal resources, such as awareness of positive emotions and self-compassion. These resources can help to increase the mental wellbeing of crisis line volunteers and reduce turn-over rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1986920
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • challenges
  • Crisis line volunteers
  • emotional impact
  • qualitative research
  • resources

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