FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date March 20, 2018
Contact: Wendy Linebrink-Allison 505-263-9140
NEW MEXICO CRISIS AND ACCESS LINE CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS PROVIDING CRISIS AND PRE-CRISIS SERVICES
Editor Note: By the numbers are attached for side-bar and on-site interviews with counselors can be arranged.
Albuquerque, N.M. –The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line (NMCAL), operated by ProtoCall Services, Inc. and funded by the New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division (HSD-BHSD), is celebrating five years of aiding New Mexicans in finding the help, services, and support they need for mental health crises such as thoughts of suicide, anxiety, depression and substance use.
New Mexico’s suicide rate is fifty-nine percent higher than the U.S. national average and roughly 160,000 New Mexicans have substance use disorders. NMCAL is staffed by behavioral health professional counselors who are available to respond to both crisis and non-crisis mental health and substance use concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, through a statewide and toll free call line that is here to hear people in the moment they need someone to talk to. Since it began operating, the hotline has received nearly 115,000 crisis calls through NMCAL, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and Core Service Agencies, as well as more than 25,000 Peer-to-Peer Warmline calls, resulting in 185,373 hours spent talking to callers from all counties throughout the state.
Since NMCAL launched, underserved populations in all counties are being reached, including sixty two percent of callers who are not enrolled in behavioral health services and fifty-three percent of callers who have Medicaid or no insurance. To support the recovery process, callers are referred and encouraged to participate and engage in community support services beyond the call.
Partnerships are built through collaborative efforts that NMCAL and HSD-BHSD coordinate with state, county, city, and local social service agencies, community associations and coalitions, schools, healthcare facilities and emergency rooms, public safety and correctional facilities, as well as fire, EMT and law enforcement. A joint effort with Bernalillo County allows 911 callers in unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County to transfer to the crisis line to speak with a counselor. This program provides callers with the appropriate response of services for their mental health needs.
“Through crisis and warm telephone lines, and after-hours coverage for agencies serving those with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders, NMCAL provides 24-hour wrap-around crisis and pre-crisis support to all New Mexicans and is an integral part of New Mexico’s behavioral health services system of care,” David Gonzales of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) New Mexico.
The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line and Peer to Peer Warmline are available to talk about any mental health and substance use concern a person may be experiencing themselves, or for someone else they know who may or may not want to get help. The top three reasons given for calling are anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide. Ninety-six percent of callers report having a reduced level of distress after calling.
“New Mexico’s large rural and frontier areas often lack proximity to behavioral health providers, leaving many feeling isolated and disconnected,” Dr. Wayne Lindstrom of HSD-BHSD. “By fulfilling New Mexico’s 2011 legislative House Joint Memorial 17, we are providing a centralized, statewide call center with a single access point that is connected and integrated with local authorities and behavioral health agencies so that callers won’t go un-helped.”
In 2014 NMCAL joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network to provide local resources with innovative best practices and quality care to New Mexicans reaching out for support. That same year NMCAL began answering the intercom calls on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to assist those contemplating suicide, and started offering Mental Health First Aid Trainings to teach people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders within the community.
The Peer-to-Peer Warmline launched in 2015 with certified peer support specialists. Peer support specialists have recovered from their own behavioral health or substance use issues and provide confidential non-crisis support for over 1,000 callers per month. Starting in January of this year the Warmline expanded to include texting services to reach even more New Mexicans. Most recently, NMCAL has joined with HSD-BHSD, and providers across the State, expanding its focus to better support addressing the Opioid crisis ravaging our communities. “By providing specialized training to all of our Crisis Line Counselors and Warm Line Peer Support staff, NMCAL intends to play an increasingly valuable role in educating and connecting individuals and families to the right care at the right time” Wendy Linebrink-Allison, NMCAL Program Manager. NMCAL has also partnered with the Dose of Reality, NM’s social media opioid campaign, to promote the crisis line’s availability.
For more information, visitwww.nmcrisisline.com. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474), or call or text the Peer to Peer Warmline at 1-855-4NM-7100 (1-855-466-7100).
Free – Anonymous – Confidential
|Wendy Linebrink-Allison, CPSW, MSW/MBA Candidate
Program Manager, New Mexico Crisis and Access Line & Peer to Peer Warmline
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