warm line
n. A phone service designed to solve relatively minor problems or to prevent those problems from becoming serious.
Picking up the telephone, Alan Stern knows he'll hear just about anything from heartbreak to loneliness to not getting to go to the school dance.

The people who call Stern at the Teen Talk "warm line" are average teenagers who feel the need to, well, talk….

Organizers call it a "warm line" instead of a hot line because it's a place where teens call long before it's a life-or-death situation.
—Merle Augustin, “Teenagers' problem not on hold,” Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), December 18, 2001
That same philosophy is instilled in all of the approximately 50 volunteers who take turns staffing what Denburg described as "a warm line, not a hot line."
—Ada Brunner, “Volunteers offer hopeful ideas on telephone 'warm line',” The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), September 20, 2001
1985 (earliest)
Financed by donations, Phone-Friend will begin as a "warm line" between 2 and 7 p.m. and expand into a 24-hour hot line for children ages 5 to 18, Underhill said.
—Roxana Kopetman, “'Phone Friend' service planned for children,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 1985
Dean Whitehead, editor of the LA County Department of Mental Health e-Newsletter sent me the following update concerning this term:
"Warm line" is a generic term for a non-emergency, non-crisis support and referral telephone response service. They offer immediate access to live help and are a cost-effective alternative to crisis lines. Warm lines are often staffed by consumer peers, medical or other professionals, consumer advocates and/or volunteers, and may offer assistance in more than one language. The term has been used since 1978, and possibly earlier, following publication of the article, The WARM LINE: A Primary Prevention Service, by Patricia G. Adkins and Trisha D. Ainsa in Research Communications in Psychology, Psychiatry & Behavior.
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