The need is very real. In 2016, HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties Inc. helped thousands of residents with a multitude of problems.
“This started in 1970 with five women sitting around a kitchen table. Mainly it was aimed at helping single, pregnant women,” Susan Hanson, executive director, told the Delaware Rotary Club Monday.
Some 47 years later, Helpline offers four areas of service — prevention, intervention, volunteerism and partnerships — to residents.
“We address key issues that are in our niche,” Hanson said. She listed suicide prevention and violence prevention among those issues.
“We don’t have a walk-in crisis center in Delaware County like larger counties have. Most go through the hospital or us,” she said.
Everything from those suffering through grief and loneliness to stress from job losses and relationship issues reach HelpLine’s ear.
“What do we do? We actively listen, stay calm and are non-judgmental. Our people are not counselors, but they are trained to do this work,” Hanson said.
About 35 to 40 percent of the calls to Helpline revolve around anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
“We have a huge database of resources available to help navigate or guide people to the appropriate resource in the community.”
Hanson said HelpLine is available “24/7-365.”
The work is funded through the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and several United Ways in the area.
Hanson told the story of how the agency helped a veteran who was struggling “to get through a difficult time. We linked him with the help he needed. He is now continuing in his recovery.”
Editor Anthony Conchel can be reached at 740-413-0900.