Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Helpline, Hotline, Lifeline

Malky Lowinger

By any name, mental health helplines staffed by volunteers provide care, sensitivity, and a virtual shoulder to cry on for residents of greater New York. Here are their stories.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Somewhere out there, in this great big and sometimes scary world, somebody desperately needs help. The assistance needed may be something as simple as a referral to a doctor’s office, but could also be something as complex as dealing with a dysfunctional family relationship. Those looking for a little support might include a newlywed anxious about her mother-in-law, or an elderly person who is scared to leave the house. Whatever the issue, the first step to solving it is often the hardest — reaching out for help. Over the past few decades, the Orthodox community has been fortunate to have the help that we need presented to us — literally — at our fingertips. As a tremendous chesed, volunteers have established several hotlines — or helplines — that provide guidance, direction, advice, and assistance. No problem is too small, no difficulty too great, for these hotlines. For anyone in distress, help can be just a phone call away.   Big Hearts Ever wondered what a “hotline headquarters” looks like? Perhaps a large, dimly lit room littered with used coffee cups and stale pizza crusts? Or an office filled with rows of desks and computer monitors? And at each of those desks an earnest and intense hotline representative with red-rimmed eyes and a crumpled shirt, clearly suffering from lack of sleep? It doesn’t really look that way at all. We spoke to the men and women who work at the Yitti Leibel Helpline, Shalom Task Force, and Achiezer, three dedicated helplines that serve the Orthodox community in the New York area. Invariably, the staff members were even-keeled, normal, and compassionate individuals. They have probably seen and heard it all, yet they are able to rise above the hopelessness and despair. Their tremendous hearts are bursting with ahavas Yisrael, and because of this they are willing to donate huge chunks of their time to help their fellow Jews in need.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you