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Church warns against shutting crisis hotline

Published onsdag 10 juli 2013 kl 17.42
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix.

A state inquiry has proposed that operators of the emergency number 112 should no longer forward calls to priests, leading church representatives to warn that people in need may not get the support they require.

Today, those who call the emergency number and ask for counseling or personal support can get connected to an on-duty priest, a service that is coordinated by Monica Eckerdal of the Church of Sweden.

"All our phone calls come through 112. We don't use our own dialing code," Eckerdal told the local P4 Kronoberg station.

She said the church could set up its own direct phone line, but warned that those who can't afford to dial any other number than 112 may not call at all in the future. Others who are told by operators that phone-counseling is not available may not then call a second number, Eckerdal suggested.

"It is a catastrophe. Many of these people are suicidal," said Eckerdal.

In 2012, Swedish priests answered 69,000 phone calls from individuals in distress who had dialed 112.

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