A listener can make all the difference in the world.
At Headquarters Counseling Center, volunteers speak on the phone daily, even hourly, with callers considering suicide or with those who have already hurt themselves, said former volunteer Kristine Chapman. But before volunteers are allowed on the phone in what is often a life-or-death situation, they must learn to listen.
"It's such a fundamental thing that's overlooked, being able to really listen to people regardless of what they're talking about," Chapman said. "It's so simple it's complicated."
Chapman said she began volunteering at Headquarters in 2008, and from 2009 through 2013 she was director of volunteers.
In the fall of 2013, filmmaker Bob Hurst was there to capture one of Chapman's training classes, following just more than a dozen men and women as they completed 100-plus hours of training in an 11-week period.
On Tuesday, Hurst, who teaches in Kansas University's department of film and media studies, will premiere his new documentary, "The Listeners," at Liberty Hall.
The premiere will also serve as a fundraiser for Headquarters, Hurst said.
Each year, Headquarters fields approximately 25,000 calls seeking help from around the country. Not every caller is suicidal; drug use, depression and infidelity are also common topics.
The organization also operates a children's line, offering kids a safe way to speak to adults, Chapman said. Read more.