Volunteer For The Arkansas Crisis Center

Please Consider Volunteering for the Arkansas Crisis Center.

We are always in need of volunteers to answer the crisis line or work on community outreach and projects.  Please contact Melissa Jackson at 479-365-2142 or email at mjackson@arcrisis.org if you would like to volunteer.

We have a training class starting soon.  You will be required to attend at least the first (4 hour) session if you would like to volunteer for the ACC with events, in the office, or outreach.

Thank you for your interest and support.

You Are Worth More

March Is Self Harm Awareness Month

I decided to check out the Monthly Calendar to see what “month’ this is, Psychology Today keeps an online blog with each month posted.  I do not know who decides what is made aware each month, but I found the following for the month of March 2017:

  • American National Nutrition Month
  • Brain Injury Awareness Month
  • Gender Equality Month
  • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • Self Harm Awareness Month

All of these are equally important, but I wanted to focus on “Self-Harm Awareness”.  Not because I know a lot about the subject, but because I hear more and more about the subject as I work with Crisis Services here at the Center.  I feel like it is another subject that people stigmatize and do not want to address until they have to.

What is Self-injury, also known as self-harm, self-mutilation, or self-abuse:  occur when someone intentionally and repeatedly harms themselves in a way that is impulsive and not intended to be lethal.

“Self-harm is not a mental illness, but a behavior that indicates a lack of coping skills. Several illnesses are associated with it, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety or post-traumatic distress disorder. – See more at: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Self-harm#sthash.6zp2dAFp.dpuf”

Skin cutting, head banging, or hitting and burning oneself are some of the most common methods used to harm oneself along with all other purposeful non-suicidal self-injures.   It is important to note that individuals who engage in self-injury often have more than one method.

I will not give you all the statistics and medical research, just basic facts.  Individuals who self-injure use it as a way to cope with or relieve painful or hard-to-express feelings, not as an attempt to suicide.   Individuals who self-injure often report feeling empty inside, or over/under stimulated, uncertain about feelings, perception by others, fearful of responsibilities and/or intimate relationships. The false sense of control and relief is temporary and leads in a cycle for the need of both Physical and Mental Health Care.  If not treated the cycle can repeat long enough that there can be additional health care issues.

Warning Signs

Warning signs that someone may be injuring themselves include:

  • Unexplained frequent injuries including cuts and burns,
  • Low self-esteem,
  • Difficulty handling feelings,
  • Relationship problems or avoidance of relationships, and
  • Poor functioning at work, school or home.

Individuals who self-injure may attempt to conceal their marks, such as bruises, scabs or scars with clothing.  If confronted they may deny self-injury and make excuses for their injuries.

What To Do If You Are Worried That Someone Is Hurting Themselves:

If you believe someone has been hurting themselves, ask them how they are doing.  Be prepared for the answer yes or no.  Be willing to listen to them no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. This maybe be a difficult subject for you to approach, remind yourself you are there to listen and help them find the help they need.  Be honest when listening, but not judgmental or confrontational; you do not have to understand everything they tell you.  They do need you to listen without worrying about what to say next or brushing off what they are saying as “not serious”.  Encourage them to seek professional treatment by stating that self-harm isn’t uncommon and doctors and therapists can help. If possible, offer to help find treatment. But don’t go on the offensive and don’t try to make the person promise to stop, as it takes more than willpower to quit.

 

These are just a few of the facts about self-injury that I found in my research.  I encourage you to do your own search and find out how you can recognize and address the subject of self-injury with individuals in your own life.   Or maybe you are the person who turns to self-injury during Crisis?  I have included some links to sites below for more information about self-injury.

There are people who are willing to listen, please call someone if you are in Crisis and need someone to listen.  The Arkansas Crisis Line operates on limited hours at 1-888-274-7472 or you may call 1-800-DONTCUT (366-8288).

As always if you have a medical emergency please call 9-1-1.

Thanks for reading,

Melissa Jackson, Crisis Services Program Manager, Arkansas Crisis Center

Sources and Resources:

S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self Abuse Finally Ends)     http://www.selfinjury.com/

National Alliance on Mental Illnesses       www.nami.org

– See more at: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Self-harm#sthash.6zp2dAFp.dpuf

Mental Health America       http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/self-injury

To Write Love on Her Arms                  https://twloha.com/ikeptliving/

To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.

 

 

Arkansas Ranked 10th By the CDC for Suicide

The Statistics Published by the CDC for 2015 (statistics used for our ranking in 2017) were recently published.  It is true, Arkansas went from 16th in the Nation to 10th for deaths by suicide per Population.   This is upsetting, our numbers rose from 515 (2014) to 577 (2015) reported deaths by suicide.  This is more than double the rate of Homicide in Arkansas.  With the public’s attention being brought to these facts, we want to encourage you to check into your local resources and find out ways you can help in your community.

The Arkansas Crisis Center operates a Crisis Hotline, Crisis Chat and Community Outreach Program.  We welcome anyone who has is interested or has a desire to help with Suicide Prevention efforts in Arkansas to join us.  We provide services for all 75 counties in Arkansas and look forward to working with you.  Thank you for your continued support, helping those in need in Arkansas.

I have provided links and information about Suicide Prevention Organizations below.  If you have any questions please contact me at 479-365-2142 or mjackson@arcrisis.org

Sincerely,

Melissa Jackson, Crisis Services Program Manager

 

Official Data from the US CDC for 2015 – National Statistics and State Rankings

http://vtspc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2015data-AAS.pdf

Arkansas_NASMHPD_Report_Jul_Dec2016 (2)

 

Arkansas — State and Community Organizations

AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) – Arkansas

Arkansas Crisis Center /Online Chat  (888) 274-7472    www.arcrisis.org

Mental Health Council of Arkansas

(501) 372-7062

NAMI Arkansas

(800) 844-0381

 

National Organizations and Federal Agencies

Many national organizations and federal agencies are involved in suicide prevention. They are valuable sources of information, and some offer funding opportunities, training, technical assistance, and resources.

 

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) http://www.samhsa.gov

SAMHSA funds and supports the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and SPRC and manages the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Program, which funds state, territorial, and tribal programs to prevent suicide among youth. It developed the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), which reviews evidence of effectiveness for prevention programs on topics related to behavioral health, including suicide. SAMHSA also sponsors several prevention campaigns.

American Association of Suicidology (AAS) http://www.suicidology.org

AAS is a nonprofit organization that promotes research, public awareness programs, public education, and training for professionals and volunteers. It serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide, publishing and disseminating statistics and suicide prevention resources. AAS also hosts national annual conferences for professionals and survivors.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) http://www.afsp.org

AFSP is a nonprofit organization that funds research to advance understanding of suicide and suicide prevention. It also offers educational programs and resources for professionals, survivors of suicide loss, and the public about suicide prevention. AFSP’s Public Policy Division, SPAN USA, promotes and keeps track of policies and legislation related to suicide prevention. AFSP’s chapters organize suicide awareness events and build connections among local resources and services addressing suicide prevention. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The Lifeline provides immediate assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to individuals in suicidal crisis by connecting them to the nearest available suicide prevention and mental health service provider through a toll-free telephone number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline also provides informational materials, such as brochures, wallet cards, posters, and booklets featuring the Lifeline number.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

The NIMH website has a section on suicide prevention that includes information and resources useful for a variety of audiences, including researchers, health care professionals, and consumers. NIMH also conducts research on suicide and suicide prevention.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/suicide/index.html

NCIPC, located at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a valuable source of information, resources, and statistics about suicide, suicide risk, and suicide prevention. Its website includes links to a number of statistical databases, including WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), YRBSS (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System), the National Violent Death Reporting System, and the National Vital Statistics System.

Indian Health Service (IHS) http://www.ihs.gov/suicideprevention/

The IHS Community Suicide Prevention website provides American Indian and Alaska Native communities with culturally appropriate information about best and promising practices, training opportunities, ongoing activities, potential partnerships, and other information regarding suicide prevention and intervention. This information can help communities and schools create or adapt suicide prevention programs that are tailored to their needs.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) http://www.save.org

SAVE is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma, and serve as a resource to people affected by suicide. Its prevention and education programs are designed to increase knowledge about depression, suicide, and accessing community resources and to increase understanding and use of intervention skills to help prevent suicide.

Jed Foundation

https://www.jedfoundation.org/

The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit organization that protects emotional health and prevents suicide among college and university students by: (1) helping colleges and universities create comprehensive programs to promote mental health and prevent suicide, (2) helping parents recognize and find support for a child’s mental health problems, and (3) helping young people recognize and find help for their mental health problems as well as those of their peers and friends.

Trevor Project

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, educates young people and adults on detecting and responding to suicide risk among LGBTQ youth, and advocates for laws and policies that will reduce suicide among LGBTQ young people.

Children’s Safety Network (CSN) http://www.childrenssafetynetwork.org

CSN is a national resource center for injury and violence prevention, including suicide prevention. CSN provides technical assistance on injury prevention planning, programs, and best practices; analyzes and interprets injury data; partners with national organizations and federal agencies to promote child and adolescent health and safety; disseminates injury prevention research; conducts trainings and presentations; and produces publications.

Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRCS) http://suicideprevention-icrc-s.org/

This CDC-funded injury control research center promotes a public health approach to suicide prevention through a collaborative process of research, outreach, and education. Its goal is to draw suicide prevention directly into the domain of public health and injury prevention and link it to complementary approaches in mental health. The center conducts research projects, provides technical assistance, and organizes conference calls, webinars, and an annual Research Training Institute for those working in the suicide prevention field or engaged in suicide-related research.

  http://www.save.org

SAVE is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma, and serve as a resource to people affected by suicide. Its prevention and education programs are designed to increase knowledge about depression, suicide, and accessing community resources and to increase understanding and use of intervention skills to help prevent suicide.

 

Jed Foundation

https://www.jedfoundation.org/

The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit organization that protects emotional health and prevents suicide among college and university students by: (1) helping colleges and universities create comprehensive programs to promote mental health and prevent suicide, (2) helping parents recognize and find support for a child’s mental health problems, and (3) helping young people recognize and find help for their mental health problems as well as those of their peers and friends.

 

Trevor Project

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, educates young people and adults on detecting and responding to suicide risk among LGBTQ youth, and advocates for laws and policies that will reduce suicide among LGBTQ young people.

 

Children’s Safety Network (CSN) http://www.childrenssafetynetwork.org

CSN is a national resource center for injury and violence prevention, including suicide prevention. CSN provides technical assistance on injury prevention planning, programs, and best practices; analyzes and interprets injury data; partners with national organizations and federal agencies to promote child and adolescent health and safety; disseminates injury prevention research; conducts trainings and presentations; and produces publications.

 

Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRCS) http://suicideprevention-icrc-s.org/

This CDC-funded injury control research center promotes a public health approach to suicide prevention through a collaborative process of research, outreach, and education. Its goal is to draw suicide prevention directly into the domain of public health and injury prevention and link it to complementary approaches in mental health. The center conducts research projects, provides technical assistance, and organizes conference calls, webinars, and an annual Research Training Institute for those working in the suicide prevention field or engaged in suicide-related research.

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter From Our Board Chairperson – Jeremy Upton

 

 

March 8, 2017

Regarding House Bill 1775: An act to mandate that the Department of Health establish and maintain a suicide prevention hotline; and for other purposes

Most Honorable Representatives,

I wanted to write you to introduce myself and the Arkansas Crisis Center. This year I have the distinguished honor of serving the Arkansas Crisis Center as the President of its board of directors.  After reading the attached article published March 5, 2017 in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette it is painfully apparent that you may not be aware of our organization. I intend to fully remedy this. The Arkansas Crisis Center was founded in 1985, yes that’s correct; we have been serving those in crisis, in all 75 counties of this great state, for 32 years. In the past we have successfully run a 24 hour hotline, we have answered the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for over a decade, we continue to play a crucial role in linking our residents in need with available community resources through our United Way partnership with Arkansas 211, we have provided community outreach to our youth, hosted Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support groups, and countless other services. I was shocked to read in the paper that it is believed that our state does not currently have a call center dedicated to restoring hope, empowering people, and saving lives in Arkansas. This simply isn’t true, as this is the Arkansas Crisis Center’s only reason for being, it has been for 32 years, and I fully expect our organization to continue doing great work far into the future.

It probably wouldn’t come as a shock to discover that over the past 32 years the ACC has had more than its fair share of struggles and setbacks. The good news is that I am here to tell you that even through our organization’s own crisis we have persevered, because the services we provide, and the many we would like to provide, for our fellow residents of Arkansas are important. We have a dedicated team of individuals whose sole mission is to save lives in this state.

I agree with the gentleman that was quoted in the paper “A call center won’t be a fix-all, but it’s a great first step”; which is why we have endeavored to maintain our call center. I believe the Arkansas Crisis Center and the Government of the State of Arkansas can help each other. I was delighted to see that the federal government offers around $1.2 million dollars in grant dollars, I’m appalled to hear that the state is missing out on this opportunity, especially since this great state already has an established call center dedicated to saving the lives of Arkansans. Those dollars would go a long way to helping the Arkansas Crisis Center staff its lines 27/7, fund and expand its programs, as well as incorporate satellite offices as hubs in various counties in the state. Another quote from the article that I agree with is that “a call center would pay for itself by reducing the number of emergency room visits” can you imagine the increased costs that would have been incurred, if the ACC were not already running an operational hotline? I also know first-hand how expensive and time consuming it can be to build a call center from the ground up. These expenses alone should be enough reason for the state of Arkansas to choose to partner with the Arkansas Crisis Center. When we save even just one life, we have more than paid for ourselves.

We have already laid the foundation, partner with the Arkansas Crisis Center to continue saving lives. Together we can battle this epidemic that affects so many in this state.

Link to article: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/mar/05/state-up-to-10th-in-u-s-suicides-201703/

Please feel free to reach out to our Executive Director Mary Katherine McKinley at our offices: 479-365-2140

Respectfully,

Jeremy K. Upton

President Arkansas Crisis Center Board of Directors

 

A Proclamation from President Barack Obama – World Suicide Prevention Day

We are excited to share that President Barack Obama has proclaimed September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day! View his full address to the public below. The President has called upon “citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers and research institutions  to raise awareness of the mental health resources and support services available in their communities and encourage all those in need to seek the care a treatment necessary for a long and healthy life.”

What an amazing day it has been for awareness. There’s only one way to say it, #thanksobama.

Press Relsease: 2015suicideprevention.prc.rel

Dear Parents – A letter from Mental Health America

If your child’s thoughts, feelings or behaviors were causing them to struggle, would you know how to talk to them about it? If they came to you looking for help, would you know what to do? You might be surprised to find out that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 1 in 5 young people under the age of 18 will experience a diagnosable mental health problem in a given year, so it’s important to be able to address signs and symptoms early.

All parents strive to do right by their children. Being an aware and engaged parent plays a pivotal role in your child’s mental health, and maintaining open and honest communication with your child is one of the best ways to notice when something begins to go amiss. When you are in touch with what is “normal” in your child’s life, it becomes clear when changes emerge, like problems with friendships or loss of interest in activities he or she used to get excited about. Encourage your child to talk to you about his or her feelings, and let them know that there is nothing he or she can say or tell you that will stop you from loving him or her. More easily said than done—especially when it comes to teenagers—but telling them out loud (and often) saves them the trouble of worrying about whether or not they can confide in you and how you might react.

Not so different from “the birds and the bees,” when the time comes to have the talk with your child about mental health, it may be uncomfortable, but it’s too important to avoid. Don’t feel like you should wait until something is wrong to start talking. See how much your child knows about mental health—ask them directly, or share with them the story of a friend or relative who has had mental health problems. You may even have your own story to share. If you’re sharing a story or experience, avoid judgmental language and focus on the fact that mental health problems are treatable.

One way of identifying mental health problems early is to take an online screen. A screen is a scientific questionnaire used to determine if signs and symptoms indicate risk or a disorder. Mental Health America has a screen for young people ages 11-17, and a corresponding screen for parents of young people, to help identify risk. Since its launch in spring of this year, over 1,200 parent screens have been taken at mhascreening.org. Nearly 63 percent of those screens indicated that a young person was showing signs of risk for behavior, emotional or attention disorder.

Just like physical illness, treating mental health problems early can help to prevent a more serious illness from developing in the future. If you are concerned that your child may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important to take action and to address the symptoms early. Start the conversation. Seek help from a doctor or mental health professional, and show your child there is nothing to be ashamed of. Listen. It could mean all the difference in the world to your child, and to their future.

@mentalhealtham

 

The Arkansas Crisis Center Welcomes New Staff to The Team!

Vicki Cowling is our new Director of Northwest Arkansas 2-1-1. Vicki comes to us by way of Texas where she most recently served as Chief of Staff of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Susan Hartman is our new Director of Crisis Services. Susan brings with her 30 years of nonprofit management experience. In addition, Susan was a part of the very first group of volunteers for the Northwest Arkansas Crisis Intervention Center (ACC), so she sees her new role as “coming full circle”.

Join us in welcoming them to the family!

Invitations to would-be volunteers……help us help others

If you are interested in a position as a crisis hotline specialist, volunteering with the ACC will equip you with the skills, training and necessary experience to successfully purse this aim.  Equally, this path is not for all and, ultimately, whatever you do as a Crisis Center volunteer will be rewarding, exciting and provides a unique opportunity to make a difference within the community we seek to serve.  We make it a priority to maintain a volunteer base that reflects the ethnic, racial, age and occupational diversity of the state of Arkansas. By donating or volunteering, you give back to the community in a way that deeply impacts the lives of those who need it most. We hope you will help us continue to help people in crisis. Since 1985, volunteers have answered the Crisis Hotline 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.  Join this legacy of volunteering at the only Crisis Hotline Agency in the state of Arkansas. The training course is approximately 40 hours and volunteers will develop skills in communication, problem solving, and crisis intervention.

All prospective volunteers should contact Rachel Hawkins at 479-365-2143 or by email at rhawkins@arcrisis.org.  We look forward to you joining our crisis intervention team!