Capital Area United Way adds crisis hotline to lineup of services

Crisis counseling - United Way

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Capital Area United Way has added a crisis hotline to their 211 service.

The organization made the announcement at a news conference Thursday morning. Baton Rouge MOHSEP is a partner on the project, and the professionals working on the line are provided by Vialink.

Vialink says they have around 80 people, most with graduate degrees in psychology and social work, to provide help. The line is for people dealing with mental health problems, thoughts of suicide, or personal struggles brought on by a crisis. United Way officials expect the service will be critical for people dealing with the fallout of storms like the August 2016 flood.

“It’s an easy access point, and through that portal, they can gain access to the crisis services as needed,” said George Bell, president of Capital Area United Way.

The service is available for the following 11 parishes:

  • Ascension
  • Assumption
  • East Baton Rouge
  • East Feliciana
  • Iberville
  • Livingston
  • Pointe Coupee
  • St. Helena
  • St. James
  • West Baton Rouge
  • West Feliciana

There is also a texting option. By sending a message to 504-777-3272, people can start a conversation with someone to help them through their problems. Vialink CEO LaVondra Dobbs says this is an effort to reach younger people.

“Teens in crisis are not gonna' call. Maybe 5 percent will call, but they won’t,” Dobbs said. “But if texting was available to get resources, or even to text or chat with someone, they would use it.”

Dobbs says texting is also useful for elderly people who don’t hear well.

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