AHP readers may be interested in a new post on Somatosphere by Hannah Zeavin, “The Third Choice: Suicide Hotlines, Psychiatry, and the Police.” Zeavin writes:
Across the 20th century and into our present, new modes of relating at a distance have given individuals in crisis an ever-expanding set of tools for accessing mental health care. From World War II psychotherapeutic broadcasts to Instant Relay Chats, letter writing to e-therapy, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and peer-activists have attempted to send therapeutic care beyond the consulting room by harnessing quotidian, habitual media to connect would-be patients to the help that they need wherever they are, whenever they need it. The suicide hotline is one such form of teletherapy, premised on reaching users who otherwise couldn’t access traditional therapy as well as those in extremis: it’s nearly ubiquitously available, free, and comes in over a household utility or, now, a cellphone. It was designed to provide great flexibility and control to users, and to circumvent traditional modes for seeking care in while in crisis: namely, it has sought to create a space of care outside the jurisdiction of psychiatry and policing and the threats their forms of intervention carry.