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Helpline pastor dozes off during suicide call for help

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14:30 CEST+02:00
A suicidal man who sought the help of a Church of Sweden pastor for night-time helpline solace was left bitterly disappointed when his holy interlocutor fell fast asleep.

"It's not acceptable for a priest to fall asleep in the middle of a call; this should not happen when you call up in search of help. I felt bad and wanted to kill myself, but I pulled myself together and made the call. I am very disappointed," the 44-year-old man told the Barometern local daily.

The man called the emergency services at around 2am on Friday. When he told the operator that he was feeling psychologically unstable he was forwarded to the duty pastor.

After having talked to the pastor for a while, the troubled soul began to get the feeling that he was talking to himself.

"I thought maybe he was taking notes, so I asked: 'Are you taking notes?' I could hear his heavy breathing before he woke up."

But the pastor's wakeful state did not last long. After another five minutes with no answer from the slumbering pastor, the 44-year-old eventually hung up.

He then made another attempt to seek spiritual guidance but was placed in a queue. After waiting for ten minutes he hung up for the second time.

Monica Eckerdal Kjellström, who coordinates the activities of duty pastors within the Church of Sweden, expressed regret over the incident but does not believe that it is an isolated occurrence.

"This sort of thing should really not occur, but it does sometimes happen that people call and report that the pastors have fallen asleep."

Kjellström promised to look into the matter and said pastors found to have a problem staying awake on duty would be relieved from duty.

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