- To provide callers in crisis or in need of support with unconditional acceptance, compassion, and respect in order to lower anxiety and facilitate the coping skills they already have.
- To help callers capitalize on their strengths in the prevention of self-destructive behaviors or suicide
- To provide referrals and information about community programs and resources
- To heighten public awareness of suicide prevention through community education, outreach and training.
The Chinese word for “crisis” includes characters that represent danger and opportunity. While crisis causes stress, it also invites growth. So often strengths are newly discovered during difficult times, and we believe that each person carries many of his or her own answers.
In the early 1970s, following a college student’s near suicide, members of the community came together and considered what options this student and others feeling alone might have for finding help. It was clear that a crisis hotline with local referral information was needed, and it needed to be open day and night. They gathered professional staff and volunteers, and created a training program for them. From these humble roots, the agency grew to serve all of Suffolk County and is now a nationally accredited program.
Who Calls Us
Callers phone us for many reasons, but most feel overwhelmed by a loss of some kind, such as the loss of a loved one, a job, one’s health, or one’s sense of hope. Sometimes they’re worried about a family member’s emotional or physical health and are seeking resources for them. Sometimes they’re struggling with a recent change, such as a re-location, a new baby, a divorce, a frightening diagnosis, and are feeling alone. Sometimes they struggle when misfortune affect a friend, co-worker, or neighbor.
In 2014, our telephone counselors responded to over 12,000 calls. In over 1,800 calls, money/work issues was a struggle, and almost as many people called the hotline seeking referral information. Over 750 calls related to suicide, and nearly 300 were about the suicidal thoughts of a loved one or colleague. This is in addition to the hundreds of calls about domestic violence, relationship issues, and from those seeking additional counseling.
How We Help
First, we listen, and we listen in a special way. We’re all familiar with the suggestions that well-intentioned friends and family so often give. While advice is sometimes what people seek during difficult times, more often it is the complete attention, acceptance, and empathy of one who cares that is truly called for.
On the hotline, our counselors give callers the time they need and listen not only for the facts, but, even more importantly, for the feelings – the music behind the words. This acceptance is empowering and helps callers to hear their own wisdom. We also help callers explore their options and, when requested, provide referrals.
Watch a Video on Crisis Centers as a Community Resource
Watch a Video on What We Do