Helpline confidentiality policy
CALM offers free, confidential, anonymous support to people anywhere in the UK through our helpline and webchat. Calls and chats are taken by trained staff who are there to listen, support, inform and signpost. The service is open from 5pm to midnight every day. Outside these hours, please visit www.thecalmzone.net for information on alternative services.
On rare occasions we may be required to break confidentiality. These instances are clearly outlined in this document.
Security and Privacy of Messages
We employ reasonable security controls (including encryption) to help protect your information. Despite these protections, WhatsApp and Social Media platforms remain an imperfectly secure environment. We try hard, but CALM cannot guarantee protection from intruders, hackers or interceptors. You use the Service and submit information to CALM at your own risk.
If you are worried about someone reading these messages on WhatsApp or Social Media channels we recommend that you delete them.
Confidentiality is the undertaking between the helpline and the caller/chatter that details of the contact or nature of the calls will not be disclosed outside of the team delivering the helpline service except in the exceptional circumstances outlined below. Confidentiality is based on the common law ‘duty of confidence’ and is shared between the caller and the helpline service, not the individual worker.
Statistical operational information is recorded automatically such as the time of connection, queue and call duration. The general geographical location, the age and gender of chatters are requested before a webchat session is started. However, on a call, this demographic information is only recorded if the caller discloses it. The topics discussed and outcomes of all contacts are also noted so that commissioners of the service can be informed of the impact of their support.
Note, this policy applies only to the service provided directly by the helpline or webchat.
Confidentiality will only be broken in exceptional circumstances. Users of the CALM helpline are always encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and to get help from emergency services when necessary. CALM helpline will not summon help for third parties.
Confidentiality will only be broken without consent of the caller/chatter:
When the helpline staff understands / is told that a person is actively suicidal, has a plan and is undertaking it now – then the helpline will breach confidentiality without consent if information necessary for emergency services to respond has already been disclosed to the helpline.
When the helpline staff understands / is told that an act of self-harm has become life-threatening, then confidentiality would be breached without consent.
When the helpline staff understands / is told by a person that they have seriously harmed a third party and put that person’s life in danger.
In all cases confidentiality is only broken if there is a serious risk of imminent death.
When a caller informs the helpline of an impending act of terrorism.
When the helpline is obliged to give information to Police or other Authorities with the power to demand this.
There is a legal requirement to provide information following receipt of a court order requiring us to share information or are required to do so by nation-specific legislation.
A user threatens the safety of CALM Helpline staff or the delivery of our service or any other third person about whom the user makes specific threats of harm.
With respect to the webchat service, it is not possible for the helpline to know the IP address of any webchatter and therefore no emergency help can be summoned by the helpline service without the consent of the chatter. This will be stated to the user and it will be strongly suggested to them that they need to summon help themselves, if they believe they need it.
Terms of Service
When you send a message to CALM to initiate a webchat conversation you will receive some automated reply messages with a link to this Confidentiality Policy and our Privacy Privacy.
Changes in Terms
The Terms may be changed from time to time. The most up-to-date Terms will always be the ones that are posted here. Changes to the Terms of Service will be effective immediately upon our posting them here on our website.
In order to protect your confidentiality, we never initiate direct contact with you. We are therefore unable to notify you directly of any changes to the Terms. Your use of the Service after such changes have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Terms.
Surveys and Feedback
At the before and at the end of your conversation, you may receive a link to take a survey to share your feedback. This is to help us learn from you and improve our service. Some policies surrounding the survey:
Responses are anonymous.
You do not have to answer all of the questions.
Any notes that you add might be used for training.
What you say won’t be linked to your conversation and won’t affect your ability to use CALM services.
CALM is here
no matter what
Losing someone by suicide can be incredibly difficult and isolating, but you’re not alone. We have loads of resources on support after suicide.