LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 10

Care&CrisisHelplineCelebrates ItsFirstYear
Mary’s drug addiction has
cost her everything: her fami-
ly, her friends, her job and, she
fears, her life.
She has been in and out of
therapy, support groups and ab-
stinence from cocaine. Feeling
frustrated and very much alone
withnooptions left,Marycalled
She talked about her dilemma
of not being able to stay clean
while her addiction was killing
her. A trained Helpline listener
quietly took it all in and offered
the support and referrals that
Mary needed.
This is no fictional tale.
Mary’s call was one of more
than 7,300 that the Helpline re-
ceived since it began a year ago.
As ofmidnight Jan. 1, 2016, the
service has fielded calls from
depressed, lonely, distressed,
frustrated or otherwise unhappy
people with a desperate need to
talkabout their troubles.And for
the last year someone has been
on the other end of the line 24
hours a day.
“We have continuouslyupdat-
ed our knowledge about what’s
going on in Genesee County to
be able to help people no mat-
ter what their concern is,”Help-
lineManager HollyBaxter said.
“From autism and heroin use to
cancer, family issues andbroken
relationships, Helpline staff re-
ally is here for anyone with any
type of crisis.”
According toBaxter, there are
many stories that are all too real
for those struggling through the
myriad of ills that plague soci-
ety. Without the patient sup-
port of a trained listener, those
people could have ended up in
worse shape, or dead. There
was the caller who was upset
because he broke his sobrietyon
Christmas after a 14-month ab-
stinence. After doing so well he
decided to stop going to support
group meetings and counseling.
The listener talked about the
importanceof stayingwith treat-
ment and encouragedhim to call
whenever he felt like drinking.
Another caller was still ar-
guing with her husband while
she was on the phone. She was
upset that he stayed too long at
a friend’s house while she was
home sick with their kids. The
listener calmed the caller down
to the point where she felt she
could resume her discussion
withher husband.Another caller
had completely different family
issues. She has suffered from
low self-esteem and depression
ever since her father abused her
as a child. Her parents are di-
vorced and her dad, who lives
out of state, has wanted her to
visit. She talked over options
with the listener to identifywhat
is best for her life.
The stories are many and
varied. The issues are real.
And Helpline staff has been in
place now every day, even on
Thanksgiving, Christmas and
NewYear’s. The Care & Crisis
Helpline supplements coverage
for other local agencies includ-
ing Genesee County Mental
Health after-hours calls, Stop
DWI, Genesee County’s Med-
icaid Fraud Line and YWCA’s
ventionServices program.
The Helpline took 7,353 calls
last year, including 3,929 for
Genesee County Mental Health
crisis, 382 that were suicide re-
lated, 466 domestic violence
crisis calls and 1,555 for crisis
information and referrals. Those
numbers reflect the instances that
someone in need received the
support he or shewas seeking.
Contracts are still available
to agencies, organizations and
businesses, Baxter said.
“To serve as a safety net for
people in crisis in Genesee
County and the surrounding
area,” she said. “We have a fully
trained staff, a toll-free number
and access tomore than 220 di-
alects and languages. The Help-
line ensures that youhave some-
body available 24/7.”
For more information, call
(585) 344-4400 or (844) 345-
4400, or go to ywcagenesee.org
for a liveChat option.
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