JOPLIN, MO – When someone is in a mental health crisis, they may not always have the opportunity to get on the phone and talk about it.
That’s why the availability to talk to someone through text could be another great option.
It’s the next part of our series The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, and Awareness.
“24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we always have someone here to answer it.” Says Hailee Bradshaw, Freeman Ozark Center.
That may seem typical for a crisis hotline, but Bradshaw is instead talking about a text line.
“Somebody can be texting from their house if they’re around a bunch of people and don’t want to talk, or from work or school. If they just don’t want to talk on the phone, they can text us instead and we will answer and respond.” Bradshaw says.
“We want to make sure that we’re having availability of services to people who are struggling, when they’re struggling. We are working very diligently to make sure that our services are very accessible.” Says Stephen McCullough, Crisis Services Assistant Director.
The anonymous “Text About It” service is available by simply texting “register” to 720-7-TXT-OZK.
“We have a pager that goes off every time we get a ‘Text About It.’ And, then, every crisis counselor that answers the hotline also gets an email.” Bradshaw says.
If the crisis escalates, there’s a plan of action to provide even further help.
“We try to stick to the way that they are preferring, which would be texting if that’s how they’re contacting us. But we usually ask before we call them to say, ‘Hey, is it okay if we call you? Can you send us your phone number?'” Bradshaw says.
The service adds to variety of ways Ozark Center counselors make sure they’re available 24/7.
“We also have the Ozark Center crisis line that we answer that’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And then we also answer the National Suicide Lifeline. And then we also answer the Disaster Distress Hotline.” Bradshaw says.
Another way to make sure someone is there, no matter when the crisis is happening.
“We have people that are available at 3 o’clock in the morning, if they need to call. Because a lot of times crisis happen outside of those hours where the office is available to them.” McCullough says.
“People don’t always go into crisis between 8 and 5, Monday through Friday, so it’s there whenever their provider may not be.” Bradshaw says.
If you know anyone struggling with their mental health and they need someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
And, again, that text line into the Ozark Center is 720-7-TXT-OZK.
We also have more resources for you under our Suicide Crisis tab.