The Emory Helpline began in 1979 with just 10 volunteers and $200 as a collaboration between psychology graduate students and faculty in the psychology department, along with the university’s Dean of Students.
At the time, there was no counseling center, and the founders thought it crucial to begin offering some mental health support for Emory students. In the 40-plus years since, the Helpline has established itself as a staple of our community, providing nightly paraprofessional, peer-support services for any student who calls, including but certainly not limited to those experiencing academic concerns, depression, anxiety, isolation, and relationship issues.
In recent years, the Helpline has responded to over 100 calls annually and continued to engage in advocacy efforts to address the Emory community’s mental health concerns, counter stigma surrounding the topic, and promote student well-being.
Before joining “the line,” volunteers go through a rigorous application and interview process, as well as an extensive 40-hour-plus training program. Training incorporates didactic and experiential components and covers a variety of topics, including helping and active listening skills, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, cultural humility, gender and sexual diversity, substance-use concerns, eating disorders, and intimate partner violence – among others. After joining the line, volunteers receive additional education on a regular basis, weekly supervision, and ongoing support from their staff advisor – Dr. Irene Daboin Dominguez, licensed psychologist and Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Emory’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office.
Despite all of their hard work, however, Helpline volunteers are not publicly recognized or even known to the Emory community because their roles require them to remain anonymous. The anonymity of callers and volunteers is an integral aspect of how the Helpline operates, so it is accurate to say that our volunteers are dedicated to the Helpline mission in a way that truly embodies altruism.
Why we now need YOUR help
The Helpline has historically received funding through two sources: College Council and the annual Bare Naked Voices Concert. Last spring, we learned that the concert series would be permanently canceled. For this reason, we are reaching out to ask for your support in continuing our mission.
More specifically, we are looking for donations to cover some of our operational expenses, including marketing and promotional materials, training materials, and other training costs (including money for our teaching assistants, who receive a small stipend of $500 for their 100+ hours of work).
In an ideal world – and with generous donations from people like you – we could also strive for enhancements like having more than two teaching assistants per training class, inviting special guest speakers on-campus to promote community-wide mental health conversations, and providing greater support for our volunteers, for example, covering their textbook expenses or providing other forms of recognition for their hard work).
Please consider donating $43 dollars to commemorate the line’s 43 years! Or whatever you are able to give at this time. All amounts of donation are welcome, and greatly appreciated!
The Impact of Emory Helpline
Quotes from past Emory Helpline Volunteers:
- "While we were providing support to the Emory community, joining the line was also an incredible learning experience. The strategies we learned during training directly impacted my own mental health. It led me to become a huge advocate for mental health care, both for myself and for others around me. To this day, I still utilize the tools we were taught as part of my coping mechanisms."
- "Helpline is self-care! Doing something I felt so passionate about was huge for my mental health. Also, wanting to do my absolute best on the Helpline and having a responsibility to my team and my community encouraged me to take better care of myself."
- "The Helpline community has given me so much. I love knowing that I have helped peers through difficult moments, and training the next class of helpers has made me so excited for the future of the line. I feel truly supported and the sense of purpose is such a gift."
The Emory Helpline operates on a nightly basis during the Fall and Spring semesters (typically 8:30 PM – 1 AM). Anyone in the Emory community can access our paraprofessional mental health support services by calling us at 404-727-4357 (HELP). While we are closed for the summer, however, please consider the following resources instead:
- Student Intervention Services Team (SIS): 404-430-1120 (Available 24 Hours/Day)
- Emory Police Department: 404-727-6111 (Available 24 Hours/Day)
- Emory CAPS: 404-727-7450 (urgent consultations available Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-3:30 PM)
National Resources (Available 24 Hours/Day):
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225
- National Crisis Text Line: Text "Home" to 741-741