What I’ve Learned Answering the Phone at a Mental Health Hotline

From a New York Times guest essay by Benedict Carey headlined “I Answer the Phone at a Mental Health Hotline. Here’s What I’ve Learned.”

“Oh my, you picked up the phone.”

The caller sounded genuinely surprised and held her breath for a moment before telling her story. For more than a year, she and her husband had been largely trapped in their home by their 25-year-old son, who suffered from psychotic episodes. He refused any treatment, he had been making threats, and most nights he holed up in his room doing drugs while his parents tried to sleep behind their double-locked bedroom door.