Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

New call center expands support for people in emotional distressSubmitted: 09/16/2020
New call center expands support for people in emotional distress
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter/Digital Content Director
mreese@wjfw.com

- Wisconsin callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are much more likely to speak with a Wisconsin-based counselor with the opening of a new Wisconsin call center funded by a grant from the Department of Health Services (DHS).

"No one should ever have to be alone when they feel hopeless," said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "Adding capacity to handle Wisconsin calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is part of our ongoing effort to ensure the right supports are available at the right time for people in emotional distress. It's about offering hope and promoting healing. By connecting, listening, and directing help to those who need it, we can reduce pain and save lives."

Known as the Wisconsin Lifeline, the new call center is managed by Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin under a $2 million annual grant. It accepts calls originating from communities not covered by one of four existing Wisconsin-based call centers in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. All of the call centers accept calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We value the efforts of the four Wisconsin call centers that have been part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for many years," Palm said. "They have done an incredible job serving their communities. Their success in de-escalating crisis situations and decreasing emotional stress paved the way for the Wisconsin Lifeline. A local connection results in a better outcome. Wisconsin-based counselors have the expertise and linkages to local resources that callers need. Now, more than ever, it is critical that all Wisconsin callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have access to Wisconsin-based counselors, especially as more people seek help due to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of more than 170 call centers around the country. Callers are routed to a member call center near them based on their phone number. In most cases, calls that are not answered by a local call center roll over to a national backup system. However, in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Lifeline serves as backup to the four locally funded call centers further ensuring calls are answered by Wisconsin-based counselors.

The Wisconsin Lifeline began answering calls in August. In its first week of operation, the percent of Wisconsin calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that were answered in-state climbed to 85 percent, well above the national benchmark of 70 percent. Prior to the launch of the Wisconsin Lifeline, Wisconsin's in-state answer rate topped out at 30 percent because of the large volume of calls coming from areas outside of the responsibility of the four locally funded call centers.

The Wisconsin Lifeline places Wisconsin in a good position to handle the predicted surge in calls when 988 becomes the new nationwide number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 2022. For now, anyone wishing to connect to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline should call 800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free and confidential.

The grant to support this new call center is funded by a portion of Wisconsin's annual share of the federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Everyone can help prevent suicide by learning the warning signs and the five action steps for helping someone who may be suicidal.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - The state Department of Workforce Development's top leader resigned Friday after failing to find a way to address a massive backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' office said Caleb Frostman stepped down after the governor called for his resignation. Republicans have peppered Evers with criticism for months over the department's inability to process tens of thousands of benefit claims that have been flowing in since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in March.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students' standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

+ Read More

Play Video

- A lot is happening underwater while Wisconsin is transitioning from summer, to fall, and winter.

But we don't really see those changes. Though we might be getting out of the water, fish can still thrive in the colder temperatures.

DNR Fisheries Supervisor John Kubisiak explains exactly how.

"These fish have been around for millions of years so they've had a long time to deal with these annual temperature cycles of course," Kubisiak said.

In the fall, a lake's temperature gets closer and closer to freezing.

Fish are cold-blooded. Meaning, their environment's temperature controls their body temperature. Kubisiak said the reason why the lake temperature is such a big issue is because that drives their metabolic processes.

How exactly do the fish prepare for the cold weather?

+ Read More

MOSINEE - President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago.

Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump views success in the state's less-populated counties as critical to another term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of the state.

+ Read More

MADISON -
Wisconsin health officials reported 2,533 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, a new daily record. The old record was 2,034, set on Thursday.

The state has now seen 97,279 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March.

+ Read More

SUAMICO - A high school teacher in northeastern Wisconsin has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Officials with the Howard-Suamico School District sent a letter to its students' families notifying them that Heidi Hussli had died on Thursday. The letter said the Bay Port High School German teacher was hospitalized briefly before her death.

+ Read More

- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers are calling on President Trump to keep the promises he made to deliver federal funding to help Kenosha rebuild.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: