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Helpline Confidentiality Policy

CALM Helpline Confidentiality Policy

CALM offers accredited, 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. Outside these hours, please visit for information on alternative services.
Calls are confidential and anonymous, we therefore don’t, and can’t, offer a counselling service.
On rare occasions we may be required to break confidentiality. These instances are clearly outlined in this document.


Confidentiality – Is the undertaking between the helpline and the caller that identifying details of the contact 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 information is recorded to demonstrate the number of contacts, the approximate geographical location and the age and gender of callers (this information is collected as part of the webchat pre-chat questionnaire). The topics discussed 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.

Breaking Confidentiality

Confidentiality will only be broken in exceptional circumstances. Users of 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 understands / is told that a person is seriously 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 is known to the helpline.
  • When the helpline understands / is told that an act of self-harm has escalated so that the person realises they have gone too far and their life is in danger, then confidentiality would be breached without consent.
  • When the helpline 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.

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