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Access to Emergency Hotlines has the Potential to Save Someone’s Life


Credit to Alexis Wade

1-800-273-8255 is an all day suicide prevention lifeline number where a national network of local crisis centers provide free and confidential emotional support for people in social crisis or emotional distress. It utilizes the skillfulness of experts in dealing with suicide and abuse.

By Sydney Ellison, North Star Reporter

It can take just one call. One call that can get the help that’s needed, one call that can provide someone to talk to, one call that can get past a crisis, one call that can give way to a healthier future. Crisis hotlines are there for all of these types of calls. They should not be overlooked.

“Go ahead and make that call and talk to someone and see what they can do to help you out,” FHN’s crisis counselor Barry Morrison said. “Because sometimes talking about it with a mental health person is exactly what you need to help you change the way you see things and refocus where you are and make things a little better.”

Crisis hotlines are numbers that let people call and talk to someone about their problems. There are many different types of hotlines ranging from suicide prevention to family life issues. After dialing, a person trained to help with the situation will answer and assist. The option to stay anonymous is available and will be kept that way unless there is an imminent danger of suicide.

“If I’m out somewhere or I don’t answer my phone and my client’s in a crisis, they still have some support to get to them so I think that’s awesome,” Morrison said.

To find these numbers, go to a guidance counselor or a trusted adult to get a hotline that best fits the situation.  If going to a trusted adult is not an available choice, look up crisis hotline numbers on the Internet and find one that is best.

“Hotline numbers are a backup when someone might be sitting at home alone and doesn’t have anyone right there and it’s a way to get that support right at that moment,” FHN counselor Mary Kerr-Grant said.

According to Kerr-Grant, it’s always better to talk to someone in person or meet with a counselor face-to-face rather than over the phone. That said, crisis hotlines give the ability for the caller to stay anonymous and get quick reliable support if they are not able to or are not comfortable with seeking help from someone they know or are unable to get in contact with help due to school or counselors office being closed.

“It’s important to reach out to someone if you’re feeling desperate, hopeless, sad or suicidal,” Kerr-Grant said.

At FHN, guidance counselors suggest the use of two local crisis hotlines; Behavioral Health Response (BHR) and St. Charles County Youth Connection Center. BHR’s motto is, “We care, we listen, we respond, 24 hours a day.” Their service is free of charge. A mental health provider will talk to the caller and offer whatever help is needed and will be able to assist with follow up care. If it is determined that more than a phone call is needed, they have something called Mobil Outreach and they are able to meet at a home or another place to make sure that the caller is safe and to do a crisis assessment. According to Morrison, the St. Charles County Youth Connection Center is another great resource. It is advertised for people under 18 and helps kids and teens with all sorts of situations including drug addiction, homelessness or suicidal thoughts.

“A lot of times we have papers, pamphlets or cards here that we can actually physically hand to somebody,” Morrison said, “They can take a picture of it and have it in their phones.”