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Helpline pastor dozes off during suicide call for help

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 12 Apr 2010, 14:30

Published: 12 Apr 2010 14:30 GMT+02:00

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"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.

Story continues below…

"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.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:31 April 12, 2010 by peropaco
Hahahahaha. Maybe the guy was so boring describing in feelings of anguish and motive to contemplate suicide so the priest just dozed off.
15:34 April 12, 2010 by bocale1
Even if not wanted, I think that the potential suicide man got the best help possible; how you can commit suicide when you are so disappointed with a sleeping pastor? Very good service, indeed!!!
15:36 April 12, 2010 by Kevin Harris
His hopes of extracting large amounts of compensation from the Church of Sweden gave him a reason to live.

Let's hope he lives a long time, makes many more complaints against charitable organisations trying to help him, and dies a rich old man. Or not.
16:49 April 12, 2010 by Puffin
... on the other hand it made him so mad he didn't actually commit suicide

..... so worked out well then
16:58 April 12, 2010 by waybackwhen
Irritation is a cure for suicidal intentions.

So is the nagging feeling that you might just miss out on something.
19:27 April 12, 2010 by G Kin
Dozzing off does the job. Isn't the 44 year old alive?.


May be he should have actually died to show his disapointment!

I has anyone noticed that its a queue on the suicide help line?. Is it really such a crisis with people killing themselves in this country?.
19:40 April 12, 2010 by bobbychyldd
Typisk! Blame someone else for not being there to serve you when you need it. I know that a lot of people need help. But the first thing they have to do, is realize that no one has to help them...the second thing they need to do is understand how hard it must be for those who are giving their time and energy to everyone that needs help.

Of course, that's easier said than done. And who's to say it wasn't part of his plan to stop the guy from committing suicide. It worked!
19:43 April 12, 2010 by "green Swede"
as much as i like this country.that says a lot about sweden,a que for the suicide hotline,if it wasn't so serious it would be funny.
20:54 April 12, 2010 by voiceofreason
Anyone contemplating suicide in Sweden should visit a slum in Rio De Generio.

Maybe he\she will see how blessed is anyone living in Sweden.
21:22 April 12, 2010 by anony1
@voiceofreason, exactly, if I was a swede, I was the happiest I Could imagine.
23:40 April 12, 2010 by soultraveler3
I'm surprised and a little sickened by the comments here. Have none of you have ever experienced depression or had a loved one who has?

Sucide is a serious and widespread issue. It's especially rampant here in Sweden, where people are taught to keep emotions and problems to themselves and you see humor in it? :(

Would you be making jokes if this person would've killed himself?

Try to imagine if you were thinking about taking your own life in the middle of the night and trying to reach out to someone, anyone, for help. You call emergency services only to be transferred to a pastor who is supposed to care for everyone and he falls asleep twice?

For anyone thinking about commiting sucide they could take that as the final and ultimate message that no one gives a sh#t.

Would you still be laughing if that person was a family member or friend?
03:47 April 13, 2010 by iftekharshaikh
Agreed with soultraveler3. suicide has nothing to do with richness or having plenty to eat or live. But the emotion strain and sudden feeling of worthlessness or betrayal led to it. so Pastor had a responsibility to fulfill.

I know here people who tried to end their lives feeling so bad. But i know how their family helped them to face the harsh realities. I think it is that the friends, siblings and above all the parents who can come to the aid at such crucial time not the pastor. But if you have no one to look at as people in Sweden are so shy and reserved then pastors must feel or i 'll suggest that some youth organization put up a helpline sort of thing in this case and put some dedicated people for the service.
14:36 April 16, 2010 by tadchem
So the potential suicide is now angry? Good. Anger gives you something to live for - Vengeance!
19:57 April 16, 2010 by Bay
If only some one was listening and not asleep.

It's all coming together........................why they get suicidal...

� �

Everyone seems to be wondering why Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide. Let's see now... No Jesus, No Christmas, No television, No cheerleaders, No Nude Women, No car races, No football, No soccer, No pork BBQ, No hot dogs, No burgers, No chocolate chip cookies, No lobster, No nachos, No Beer nuts, No alcohol, No Beer !!!!!!!! Rags for clothes and towels for hats. Constant wailing from the guy next-door because he's sick and there are no doctors. Constant wailing from the guy in the tower. On your knees facing east most of the day. More than one wife. You can't shave. Your wives can't shave.. You can't shower to wash off the smell of donkey cooked over burning camel dung. Your bride is picked by someone else. She smells just like your donkey. Then they tell you that when you die it all gets better!

I mean, really, is there a mystery here?

So don't fall asleep but stay awake and listen.
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