As mental health issues such as suicide continue to rise across the United States, more people each year come to count on agencies like Crisis Services in Western New York. As part of this year’s state budget, $200,000 is being allocated to support Crisis Services’ 24 Hour Crisis Hotline, hire and retain additional staffing, and help with awareness campaigns.
Clinical Operations Officer Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds said when someone reaches out for help and someone is there 24-hours a day, a crisis can be overcome.
“It is our vision, that we, our community where people in crisis find safety, help and hope. This funding comes at a time that the core mission of Crisis Services are underfunded,” she said. “This is a battle non-profits manage each year to keep critical lifesaving work going.”
Wiktorski-Reynolds said over 58,000 minutes were spent on the phone in 2018.
New York State Senator Tim Kennedy joined the Crisis Services staff at their Buffalo headquarters to announce the funding Thursday afternoon. He said the programs offered there are second to none and continue to serve Western New York’s most vulnerable.
Wiktorski-Reynolds said they’ve come a long way since originating back about 50 years ago.
“Did you know, that during the first few months of operation in 1968 we received a 1000 calls? Today, our Crisis Hotline receives over 7,000 every month,” she said.
Crisis Services in Western New York spent over 58,000 minutes on the phone last year. Their longest staff call to support someone contemplating suicide was over 60 minutes long.
“We encourage you to use our hotline. If you or someone you know is in need of support for suicide, addiction, mental health, domestic violence, rape, our trained counselors are ready for you 24 hours a day. If you’d like to be a Crisis Services champion yourself, we encourage you to reach out to our website at www.crisisservices.org, where you can learn ways to get involved,” Wiktorski-Reynolds said.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, the 24-hour hotline can be reached at 716-834-3131.