OHIO VALLEY — With the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services entering into a contract with the National Crisis Text Line, the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services is telling those in its service area they do not need be alone in the struggle with behavioral health.
The Crisis Text Line is a free service and available at all hours of the day, every day. The service is confidential and available to be used on any text capable mobile device.
“Our board will be rolling this out to the public as another service as its disposal,” said Board Deputy Director Angela Stowers. “The National Crisis Text Line has been in service since August of 2013. The good news is that it is founded completely by foundations and grants and is not taking away from local dollars. That allows our local services in place to remain in place.”
The local crisis line with Woodland Centers will still be in service as well.
Individuals suffering a crisis are asked to text “4Hope” to 741741 to mark the text as from the Ohio area and can expect a reply from a trained crisis counselor within five minutes. The message is considered confidential and secure. If an individual’s cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon the text line does not charge and nothing should appear on a phone bill.
Nationally there are around 10 rescues a day from individuals seeking help. Many of those individuals may be debating suicide, having panic attacks or suffering from a drug crisis and need direction. Counselors seek to guide individuals through difficult times and, if the caller is willing, point them in the right direction for treatment. Law enforcement or ambulances are called to a location only if the caller is willing and wanting for such a service in dire need.
Stowers emphasized this number does not replace the need for 911 and should immediate physical danger be an issue, the public should contact their 911 center right away.
Roughly 30 percent of the calls used relate to suicide or depression issues. Nearly 35 percent of the calls came from seniors willing to share their stories but a higher percentages of callers were identified as young adults. Calls recorded have ranged from eating disorder concerns to panic attacks and more. Post traumatic stress has also been counted among caller concerns.
According to Woodland Centers Clinical Director Many Knipp, she believes youth have a positive response rate with the texting system because they need to take a moment to think about how they will write their thoughts and are typically comfortable in a text-based environment.
“We want people to use this,” said Board Executive Director Robin Harris. “There is often a stigma around mental health issues and people are afraid to reach out. This line is about giving people an option to reach out to someone privately and anonymously for help. People don’t need to suffer alone.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103