S: Church of Sweden pastoral helplines are open

Every night. All year round. Free. Confidential. The pastoral helpline and Finnish telephone support services within the Church of Sweden are available whenever anyone needs someone to talk to. This weekend is no different. The Sami crisis network telephone support service is also available two evenings per week.
“Terror attacks have become a source of anxiety for many, but during the festive period the subject of conversations are loneliness and different types of vulnerability,” says Monica Eckerdal Kjellström, coordinator of the Church of Sweden’s pastoral helpline services. During the year the priests staffing the helpline have answered 60 000 calls; an increase of 8 percent compared to 2009. “People turn to a priest when things seem hopeless and when there is a crisis. The helpline priests welcome those in need of emergency support, regardless of faith and ethnic origin. Anyone can call and callers can choose to remain anonymous. Help is never farther than a telephone call away,” says Ms Eckerdal Kjellström.

Finnish and Sami support services
The pastoral helpline is a service provided jointly by the Church of Sweden parishes. By working together to provide a communal helpline service via SOS Alarm calls the parishes do not individually need to each provide emergency spiritual guidance every evening.

Thanks to organisational stability and modern technology 92 percent of all calls for emergency assistance reach the priests staffing the helplines. Priests from different parts of Sweden contribute to the service – some with major involvements and others providing cover on a few occasions each year. The support helpline is open every night from 9 pm until 6 am. The number to call is 112 and calls are free.

The Church of Sweden’s Finnish support helpline, Palveleva Puhelin, (tel. 020-26 25 00) is open every night between 10 pm and 1 am. The Sami crisis network can be reached by calling 063-10 12 30 on Fridays and Sundays between 8 pm and midnight. Calls are also directed to helpline services via the SOS Alarm service. The calls are free and callers can choose to remain anonymous.Church of Sweden