‘Warmlines’ Helping to Fill a Gap in Mental Health Care


From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Unlike a hotline for those in immediate crisis, warmlines provide early intervention with emotional support that can prevent a crisis — and a more costly 911 call or emergency-room visit. The lines are typically free, confidential peer-support services staffed by volunteers or paid employees who have experienced mental health conditions themselves.

People often struggle to access basic mental health services without such help, according to Wiener. ‘They have the choice between nothing, a friend or going to the ER,’ he said.

‘We’re making relationships as we get to know people and they get to know us,’ said Rose, who is also a licensed clinical social worker. ‘Emotional support keeps us all healthy and establishes the kinds of connections we need in our lives.’

In Omaha, nine in 10 people who contact Safe Harbor Peer Crisis Services reported its warmline prevented their hospitalization, said Aileen Brady, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Community Alliance, a mental health agency that operates the program.

‘We could see a national network for warmlines in about five years,’ said Salazar. ‘That’s really needed since, day-to-day, no one really focuses on people who are not yet in crisis.'”

Article →­


  1. I think this is great, a move forward.
    Although one thing bothers me about the word “crisis”
    It has been defined legally to cover everyone’s butt.
    Often people use or think the word “suicide”, not
    because they have any desire to do it, but
    say it because it is one of the ways they can
    say “i’m hurting”.
    It is like using the F word instead of pausing and reflecting.
    I think there should be safe places where people can use the word
    without the anti-suicide mafia pouncing.
    Possibly suicide rates are higher partly because it’s still a taboo,
    and results in loss of autonomy, even though the act itself is not illegal, the
    attempt or even the talk, is.
    Pushing people into corners is not wise.
    In fact, what your culture or family taught can have
    a big impact on how one copes and resorts to, or what words one
    uses to describe feelings.

    Report comment

  2. We have one of these “warm lines” in my community. My friend, who is also a victim of forced drugging and other serious Civil Rights violations in the name of “treatment”, often calls this “warm line”. So often, in fact, that she’s now been banned from calling it! Gee, psychiatry just makes SO much sense!….

    Report comment