Doing Good: Arkansas Crisis Center expanding its services nationwide

Fox 24

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — Suicide deaths are up in the Natural State.

That’s according to a new study by health advocacy group Commonwealth Fund.

In times of distress, the Arkansas Crisis Center is there to listen.

When you call its hotline, a crisis call specialist will pick up the phone.

Focusing on suicide prevention, call specialists are trained at a high level to assist in crisis intervention.

“Before they’re even assist trained, they do 40 hours of training in the classroom. Then, another 16 hours of internship where they’re doing role play,” says Jason Ervin, Executive Director. “If you happen to call and need a resource for maybe sexual assault, or any type of violence against you, we’ll definitely be able to connect you to the correct people.”

Big changes are in store for the non-profit as it expands its services across the country.

“We have just completed a 6-month process of becoming a nationally suicide accredited hotline, which means that we will now be receiving suicide calls or crisis calls from all over the country,” Ervin said.

The need for suicide helplines has become increasingly apparent.

In Arkansas, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with an average of one person committing suicide every 15 hours.

The back-to-back deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain brought mental health issues back into the public eye.

Ervin explains, “a lot of times people who are considering suicide are individuals that you would have never of thought were in any type of danger of that.”

Services are needed now more than ever, and Ervin says his team is more than capable.

“There’s always hope. There’s always a light, and if you can enter in a situation like that and really just bring one person, two people, and give them a smile — just that moment. There’s a lot to be said about that.”

The Arkansas Crisis Center welcomes any corporation, organization, or school to contact them for any handout materials or posters to display.

If you feel you need to talk to someone, call 888-274-7472.

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