LANTANA — Latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control show suicide rates in Florida have increased by 10.6-percent over the last decade. The 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast HelpLine reports calls are up, but what toll does this take on the helpline resource specialists on the other line?
According to 211 HelpLIne President and CEO Sharon L’Herrou, it first begins with screening and hiring the right person for the job. And for those hired, there’s internal support. Resource specialists complete more than 100 hours of de-escalation training in crisis intervention for suicide, rape and emotional distress.
”You know burnout is something we take seriously, it’s a concern and it’s a challenge for us, right,” L’Herrou said. “This is a heavy job.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Dee Smith who says she’s human and that dealing with calls from more kids threatening to take their life is concerning.
“That’s scary,” said Smith. “I just think that’s so different from when I grew up.”
In an effort to reduce the number of kids and teens considering taking their lives, the 211 HelpLine offers a text service: Just text 8-9-8-2-1-1. L'Herrou also reminds her team not to carry their work outside of the office.
“It’s not always possible to move people into as healthy a road as we would hope. So, we could carry that with us,” said L’Herrou. “We try to make sure the staff are educated. And we try to support each other and remind ourselves and each other that we’re all trying to move forward, but we can’t hold everything.”
211 HelpLine can be reached by calling:
211 Helpline can also be reached by Texting, Online Chat, or Email:
>>>To Text: text your zip code to 898211 (available 24/7)
>>> Click here for Online Chat (available 10am -8pm every day)
>>>211 HelpLine via email (click on this link and scroll down)