DATA-The evolution of the amount of volunteers at the Zelfmoordlijn

Last year has been extremely challenging for all of us. We were forced to limit our social contacts as much as we could, stay at home from work or school, and only leave our houses when it was necessary.

‘Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god’, is what the Greek philosopher Aristotle said. To be unsocial and not partake of society is exactly what we were expected to do. Therefore, it’s evident that our mental state has been tested more than ever.

Zelfmoordlijn 1813 a Flemish online platform where people can get in contact with professionals and volunteers who help you with everything that has to do with the prevention of suïcide. It is the central access gate for anyone who is looking for help to deal with suicidal thoughts, for people who are worries about someone else and for people who have lost someone to suicide. You can contact the Zelfmoordlijn through e-mail, chat or by calling the number 1813. It’s for free and anonymous.

On the plus side, there has been a raise in volunteers. In 2020 there were 202 volunteers at the Zelfmoordlijn, from all over Flanders. That’s double the amount from 2014.

As a volunteer, you don’t only answer phone calls and messages. You can also help new, unexperienced volunteers at the beginning of their journey.

Text: Claire Gevers, photo: ©LumenSoft Technologies