Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dial 211

It's as simple as that.  If you need help with anything from paying bills to domestic abuse to your sister's depression, dial 211 and you'll be connected with Help Hotline.  As Cathy Grisinski explained in our conversation this week, if they can't offer help, they can probably direct you to someone who can.

Of course, nothing is that easy.  What struck me most in talking with Cathy is that the problems that lead people to call Help  Hotline are so rarely simple.  Someone who's struggling to pay a mortgage bill might well be unemployed or underemployed, perhaps because of health problems or just the state of the economy, but unemploymentcontributes to emotional struggles -- self-doubt, depression, thoughts of suicide -- and behaviors that create more problems.  Help Hotline staffers know how to respond when the rest of us can't even identify the cause of a problem.

But Help Hotline is much more than, well, a hotline.  They run a community center, organize support groups, and provide education to community groups, school children, and anyone who wants to understand mental health issues.  May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it's a good time to learn more about one of the most important resources in our community.  Visit the Help Hotline website to learn more -- including about how you can get involved.

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