National Empowerment Center - Articles
They suggest soft, fuzzy images, but do not be deceived: warm lines are proving a powerful approach to reducing hospitalization. Warm lines are a form of social support and a complement to hot lines whose time has come. In this age of social isolation, the phone is proving itself a lifeline for people with mental illness who are either too afraid or alone to connect with family or friend.
In New Hampshire, a survey1 was conducted with Emergency Services (ES) phone call answering services staff about their experiences before and after a consumer-run warmline in the region was established in the region.
The survey results indicated that non-emergency calls by consumers to the ES phone line were reduced by sixty percent with the establishment of a local warmline.
Warm lines run by people in recovery from mental illness hold a special
appeal for callers with the same label. Many people with mental illness refuse
to call a crisis team because they are afraid they will again be committed.
Indeed a survey of previously hospitalized consumers by the Well Being Project
in 1987 found that 47% of them refused to even contact a clinic due to the
trauma of hospitalization. This means that consumers would rather wait until
their crisis reaches the point where they could no longer be calmed by respite
or other alternatives to hospitalization.
For a Listing of Warmlines, visit www.warmline.org
1 The survey was conducted in 1995 by the Community mental health center (CMHC) for the Derry/Salem region (BBH Region 10) of New Hampshire. The CMHC, now known as CLM Behavioral Health, together with NH Department of Mental Health found that establishing a warmline was of benefit as it freed ES workers from handling non-crisis calls so that they might be free to focus on responding well to consumers in a genuine crisis.
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