Thanks to BuzzFeed News for this insight on this.
When you call you'll get a recording, this is to route you to a LOCAL crisis center so you can receive the best help
You will hear music as your call is routed appropriately, wait times are generally under a minute, but can be longer depending on the center's resources
A trained crisis worker will then answer the phone, and the call can be as short or long as you need. They will make sure that you feel supported and safe. If you're calling about a family member or friend, they will provide you with the resources and knowledge to help the person of concern.
With higher risk cases, crisis workers will do everything they can to work with the caller to ensure safety without intervention, only in rare cases would the local police have to be notified to ensure the caller is safe.
TEXT MESSAGING HELP IS AVAILABLE and CONFIDENTIAL. Especially helpful for those deaf, hard of hearing, or difficulty speaking. Texting works the same way as calling, where crisis workers will work with the person to make sure they are safe.
You can read the full article here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/carolinekee/what-happens-when-you-call-suicide-hotline