Article reserved for subscribers
Each year, Suicide Listening responds to more than 20,000 calls from people in great distress. There are actually more callers, but due to a lack of sufficient volunteers, the association cannot respond to all requests.
1:30 p.m., the phone rings. Dominique picks up: “Suicide listen, hello.” From the handset left on speakerphone, she only gets a long silence as an answer. Then a woman’s voice, slow, tired, is painfully heard “I want to talk, ma’am. But sometimes it just won’t come out.” Leaning on a desk in a small Parisian office on this August morning, staring into space, Dominique listens patiently. She lets the person confide, fiddling with a pen with her fingers. Little by little, the caller tells her about her health problems, her fear, her sleep difficulties. She admits to being weakened, “very distressed”, and concludes the least of his sentences with “madam”. His speech is confused, difficult to follow.
Dominique takes a few notes, tries to reassure her, sometimes ends up, after endless blanks, by asking one or two questions. The call ends. At the end of the line, the young retiree with piercing blue eyes explains that she recognized “a regular” who “calls very often and repeats a little” : “She always finds herself a new stressor. Calling here, even if we don’t really give her advice, it does her good, it reassures her a little.
No sooner had she hung up than the phone rang again. A lady tells him that her son wants to end his life. Another one follows which tells of having “a little fed up, of life, of everything”.Then a man“alcoholic” <…