A toll-free mental health non-emergency line was launched statewide on World Mental Health Day in October, providing assistance via phone or instant messaging to anyone in need of emotional support.
This line is not a hotline, but instead a “warm” line. Hotlines provide immediate emergency support while warm lines provide non-emergency emotional support.
“The warm line aims to be a highly accessible, low-threshold mental health resource that people can use to seek support before they’ve reached the crisis point, in the hope that support now will prevent crisis later,” according to the Peer-Run Warm Line website.
The mental health warm line is a great addition to the current crisis resources such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800–273-TALK (8255) and the Crisis Text Line (741741 type “Help”), according to Larry Schallert, assistant director of the Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health Program at College of the Canyons.
Currently, the line is run by counselors and peers, and is open seven days a week, but it is not 24-hour. In the new year, they hope to expand their services so assistance is available at any time someone needs support, the website says.
“Now every county in the state will have access to a warm line that Californians can call; they can talk with a peer and know that they are not alone and that people are available to help,” said H. Chung So, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. “Another critically important benefit of this initiative is that it also provides training and employment opportunities for people with life experience of mental health conditions.”
Early intervention is crucial, according to Mellissa Salazar, program director of the Behavioral Health Unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
“We welcome this important and much-needed service,” said Salazar. “Although there is assistance available for dealing with mental illness, unfortunately, it’s significantly underused. A mental health hotline can point one in the right direction.”
Originally, the line started in San Francisco and the call center serviced those in the Bay Area. Not until October did the resource expand to the rest of California after the state allocated $10.8 million toward the line over the next three years.
“I hope we can get the word out that reaching for help is a sign of strength, and that we can address the issues of stigma that keeps people silent about their emotional problems,” said Schallert.
To utilize the line, call 1-855-845-7415 and instant messaging is available on the Peer-Run Warm Line website. Their hours are: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m (Monday-Friday), 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturday) and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday).
Mental Health and other resources for the Santa Clarita Valley
Mental Health: It’s Part of All Our Lives 1-800- 789-2647
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800- 273-TALK
SCV Youth Project (661) 257.YOUTH (9688)