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2-1-1/LIFE LINE Wins Disaster Distress Line Grant

Feb 18, 2016

ROCHESTER, NY2-1-1/LIFE LINE, a program of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, has announced that it was one of only three call centers in the United States to win a highly competitive grant to become a new operator for the National Disaster Distress Helpline.

The free, confidential helpline provides 24-hour crisis support services for people struggling emotionally because of natural or man-made disasters, like severe storms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and incidents of mass violence. The January 21-23 snowstorm along the East Coast is an example.

“When severe weather hits or after tragedies that shake communities, anyone involved, or connected to the event, is often traumatized. They may show signs of distress – easily angered, increased anxiety, having trouble sleeping, or drinking more alcohol than they normally would. These are just some examples,” said Caitlin Peterson, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE Program Operations and Clinical Manager. “Calling the helpline is a way people can get connected to help to deal with their feelings and begin to learn healthy coping skills that will enable them to avoid long-term problems related to the event.”

Callers anywhere in the United States can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline and they will receive immediate crisis support, information about recognizing signs of distress, and healthy coping skills tips. Callers will also be referred to local resources to obtain additional care and support.

2-1-1/LIFE LINE, along with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center and Switchboard of Miami, each won $137,500 grants to be paid out over a three-year period. 2-1-1/LIFE LINE will continue serving callers through September 29, 2018.

2-1-1/LIFE LINE is accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) as an Information and Referral call center, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) as a crisis hotline/center, and by CONTACT USA (CUSA) as a crisis chat center. In addition to the relevant training necessary to earn these accreditations, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE telecounselors are also trained on providing Psychological First-Aid to those individuals impacted by natural and/or man-made disasters who utilize the Disaster Distress Helpline.

Launched in 2012, the Disaster Distress Helpline is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. It is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by Link2Health Solutions.

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally because of a natural or man-made disaster, call the national Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. Caring crisis counselors are available to help 24 hours a day.

About 2-1-1/LIFE LINE

2-1-1/LIFE LINE is a program of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes. 2-1-1/LIFE LINE has been a part of Goodwill since 2005, but has served the Greater Rochester region since the 1970s. 2-1-1/LIFE LINE is a blended information and referral service for human service organizations and a crisis intervention hotline. In conjunction with the National Suicide Prevention Line, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE serves as a regional and national back up center for individuals contemplating suicide. 2-1-1/LIFE LINE also serves as one of six back up centers for the Veterans Crisis Hotline, and is one of three national centers answering calls for the Disaster Distress Helpline. Anyone in the community can contact 2-1-1/LIFE LINE by dialing 2-1-1 or by going online to to chat or access information. To follow 2-1-1/LIFE LINE on Facebook, just search “211LifeLine”.

Media contact: Todd Pipitone, PR Manager (585) 232-1111