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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

As calls to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline surge, under-resourced centers struggle to keep up

Vivekae Kim
PBS.org
Originally posted August 5, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

To accommodate the rising call volume, Dr. Draper, the director of the Lifeline, says local crisis centers need more resources–and that a lack of resources contributes to centers leaving the network or shutting down. From 2008-2012, nine centers dropped out of the network and from 2013-2017, 23 centers dropped out. Just this year, three centers shut down.

Remaining centers do what they can to stay functioning. This often means taking on extra contracts, like running local crisis lines, to support their suicide prevention work.

Crisis Call Center, a Lifeline backup center in Nevada, operates a sexual assault support service program and a substance abuse hotline. They also provide child protective service reports and take elder protective service reports after hours. Rachelle Pellissier, its executive director, says they have to “cobble together” these different funding streams to offset the costs of the suicide prevention calls they take.

“We really need about $1.1 million to run this organization,” said Pellissier.

Centers like Provident in Missouri rely on their local United Way. The money they receive from the Lifeline, even as a backup center with more support, “pays for maybe two salaries of my 15 person team,” said Jane Smith, the director of life crisis services for Provident. “We’re a money-losing entity at Provident.”

If backup centers are unable to take a call, that call is routed from one backup center to the next, until a counselor can talk. “All the calls can be answered. The only question is, how long do people wait?” Draper said.

The info is here.
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