Monday through Friday from 6PM-11PM, help-seekers can connect with a Crisis Services counselor from their mobile device by sending a text to 716-300-2338 or by their computer to initiate a chat via the organization’s website at www.crisisservices.org. 24-hour support will continue to be available by calling 716-834-3131.
Crisis Services’ marked the initiative’s “soft launch” on August 25th and have seen steady growth in the first two weeks. Rachel Morrison, Director of the 24-Hour Crisis Counseling Program, and Felicia Patterson, Quality Assurance Supervising Counselor and lead staff on the text and chat program, report that an average of 3-5 text and live chat messages have been received each night during the pilot service hours and this number is growing.
In feedback collected through post-chat surveys, help-seekers are reporting that the service is “very easy to use,” that they would use the service again when needed, and would refer the service to someone they know. This is a terrific start!
This initial pilot is funded by The Celia Lipton Farris & Victor W. Farris Foundation to expand access to digital support for individuals who are experiencing crisis. Launching with limited hours to start, Crisis Services’ text and chat option will provide an additional method to receive crisis intervention that is easy to access and completely confidential.
With the success of this initial pilot, Crisis Services will be extending text and chat hours in the near future. Crisis Services was recently awarded funds by Highmark BlueCross Blue Shield’s Blue Fund to expand this critical program.
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