Today we present two more stories in our continuing series. These stories are true, and they’re the kind of stories we hear every day in the call center. At times, the work we do can be a little overwhelming–there is always more need than there are resources. But when we feel discouraged, we share stories like these, stories of people who have been helped through crisis by one of our call center specialists and one of our many partner agencies.
Enjoy these stories, and know that HeartLine is making a difference every day!
Marital Status: Married
HeartLine Number Called: 2-1-1
Need: The first words out of Don’s mouth were, “I need help.” He had never called 2-1-1 before but didn’t know where else to turn. He had just brought his wife home from the hospital after several weeks of diabetes complications. They had no food in the house, and almost all the gas in the car was gone, too. He didn’t have enough money to get gas or food, and kept telling the call specialist over and over that his wife had to have food because of her diabetic condition. “I just don’t know what to do.”
Outcome: At that time of day, no pantries in Don’s vicinity were open. The call specialist took his information and agreed to continue making calls for him. Two organizations were contacted, and Reaching Our City said it would try and help that evening. The call specialist followed up with Don the next day and learned that Reaching Our City had gone beyond its normal procedures and had delivered food to the couple that same evening.
Marital Status: Single
HeartLine Number Called: 2-1-1
Need: Linda was frantic. She called her DHS case worker at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon hysterical and with no idea how to get the help she needed. Linda was trying to make it on her own, but with a toddler and a seven-month-old baby, things were tough. She needed food and diapers for her baby but didn’t get paid again until the end of the next week. Her case worker suggested she try 2-1-1.
Outcome: Linda dialed 2-1-1 and was greeted by a caring HeartLine call specialist who was there to listen. The call specialist asked for Linda’s zip code and searched for referrals closest to her. Linda was given three referrals for her situation and was able to find the help she needed by 5:00 p.m. that same day.
*Though these stories are true, the names of the callers have been changed to protect their anonymity.
Today marks our last post in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week 2011. We hope you’ve taken the opportunity to learn more about mental illness and what you can do to help those who may be suffering. We leave you with four important statistics that relate directly to Oklahomans.
- Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 American families
- 60 to 90 percent of all suicidal behaviors are associated with some form of mental illness or substance use disorder.
- Oklahoma is ranked 13th in the country for deaths by suicide.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 in Oklahoma.
These stats are sobering, but know that help is available. HeartLine call specialists are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week to help those in crisis. As a reminder, here are our numbers.
- 2-1-1 for information and referral
- 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE for suicide prevention
- 848-CARE for compassionate listening
- 1-800-522-4700 for the Oklahoma Problem Gambling Helpline
For more information on mental illness and mental health, visit the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website here.