Text line option offered by Rutland Mental Health Services Community Care Network

By Danielle Ray
March 1st, 2024

VERMONT – Rutland Mental Health Services Community Care Network began offering a text line around the same time as the transition to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. It is another avenue to provide mental health care accessibility.

Community Care Network Director of Emergency Services Loree Zeif said the text line — 802-214-2553 — is an expansion of their 24/7 crisis clinician availability and enables them to provide mental health support and care.

“The goal of the text line is to increase the ways we have of initially engaging with people in need of crisis services,” she said. “It is intended to be used as an initial form of engagement, not to be used in the place of in-person interaction.”

Community Care Network provides mental health services, developmental disabilities support, volunteer, and early childhood education services. Zeif, who has been in her role there for three years, said a wide variety of people use the text line as far as demographics go.

“Initially we anticipated it being mostly adolescents and young adults, but we see that demographic along with adults of all ages — both clients we hear from regularly, and people that are new to crisis,” she said.

There have been more than 2,200 texts sent since its inception. Three to five staff members respond to texts during the day and one person overnight, with the same team answering support phone calls.

“People use the text line generally to initially engage with a crisis clinician,” Zeif said. “It is used for the same reasons people call in to crisis, issues ranging from people looking for information regarding mental health resources to mild anxiety or depression to urgent mental health crisis situations that evolve into assessment and referral to a higher level of care,” she explained.

When asked why it is important to offer the text line service as an alternative to phone calls and other means of communication that may be a barrier or triggering for people with social anxiety, for example, she said, “we know that not everyone may be able to make a phone call or be comfortable making a phone call.”

Zeif noted, “The ability to text makes it easier for more people to easily access help during a mental health crisis. This option supports at-risk communities, including youth and young adults, who we know are a population increasingly reticent to make voice calls, marginalized and underserved populations, and individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities.”

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is another means to triage mental health needs and support. Transitioned from the ten-digit National Suicide Prevention Line in July of 2022, when people call, text, or chat with the 988 Lifeline, they are connected to trained crisis counselors who are part of the existing 988 Lifeline network comprised of more than 200 local crisis centers.

Rutland Mental Health is included in that network and is connected if 988 operators feel it is necessary when someone reaches out.

Posted in Articles, Leading Stories, Subscribers | Comments Off on Text line option offered by Rutland Mental Health Services Community Care Network

Comments are closed.

Powered By MemberPress WooCommerce Plus Integration