Suicide Prevention Awareness: What happens when you call for help?
One of the concerns that prevents individuals from speaking up when they are having suicidal thoughts is the fear of what happens next. The mystery of how that plays out can be scary.
Amy Sarrazin, who works in communications for the Community Crisis Connection, says that they are beginning to see their incoming calls increase, indicating a greater awareness and breaking through those fears. She shared with us what happens on a call, whether an individual is calling for themselves or on behalf of someone else.
Community Crisis Connection was formed as part of Colorado Crisis Services in 2014, as part of an initiative by the State of Colorado following the Aurora theater shooting to ensure fair and equitable mental health resources available to Coloradans regardless of ability to pay. They offer 24/7 immediate and confidential counseling, and there is no charge for services by the Community Crisis Connection.
“We have had all ages call in, from those as young as 12,” Sarrazin said.
When someone calls, that individual may speak to a Master’s-level clinician or a peer counselor.
“A lot of people like to speak to a peer first, because it may feel less threatening and because it’s someone who has been through the process,” Sarrazin explained.
Additionally, Community Crisis Connection began offering a text option last year, and Sarrazin says their incoming communications skyrocketed once this option became available. Individuals may interact with a counselor or a peer counselor using this option, as well.
“Sometimes it takes just a few texts or 20 minutes of texting before that person becomes comfortable enough to speak on a phone call,” Sarrazin said.
There are six walk-in centers where individuals are guaranteed to be seen within an hour. These centers welcome anybody at any age and allows a stay of up to 24 hours. There is also one dedicated youth facility in Lakewood that accepts individuals aged 18.5 and under. Someone aged 15 or older may check themselves in without being accompanied by a parent. Accommodations are also made for those who cannot transport themselves to a center.
“If a person cannot get to one of our centers, our mobile dispatch will go to wherever that person is,” she said.
There are also crisis stabilization units available, which provide three-to-five days at a facility to get stabilized and evaluated. Those not ready to go home after the initial 24-hour period may be transported to one of these units.
All individuals are sent home with a follow up care plan. For these longer-term resources, Community Crisis Connection staff will help families identify if their insurance or Medicaid will help with these costs, and they will also help families identify free resources.
How to access 24-hour crisis services and programs:
By Phone: Call the Colorado Crisis Support line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255). Free and confidential, all calls are connected to a mental health professional who can help you manage an emergency situation and provide immediate support or connections to further resources.
By Text: Text TALK to 38255 to be connected to a crisis text specialist. Certain terms and conditions apply. Check with your cellular plan on charges to text. To stop receiving text, simply type STOP. To begin talking again later, text TALK to 38255 at any time.
By Chat: Click here to CHAT with a crisis online counselor. CHAT hours are currently limited to 4pm-12am 7 days a week. Call the Crisis Support line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) if services are unavailable or the wait time is long.
Walk-In Center: Our 24-hour walk in centers offer confidential, in person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. Individuals and families are welcome and encouraged to walk in to any of our six metro-area locations: