Friday, June 5, 2009

Crisis Hotline faces busy times

Organization seeks funding, volunteers to address increase in call volume

Express Staff Writer

Svea Grover, left, Janet Barton, center, and Kristin Bevers enjoy some wine at the Crisis Hotline wine tasting and silent auction fundraising event at the Inn at Ellsworth Estate in Hailey on Saturday, May 30. Photo by Willy Cook

Close to 60 people turned out to enjoy food, wine and music at the Crisis Hotliine's annual spring fundraiser at the Inn at Ellsworth Estate in Hailey on Saturday, May 30.

"We have had one of the busiest years ever," said Sher Foster, executive director of the nonprofit crisis assistance center. "Serious calls have been on the rise for crisis intervention, domestic violence and suicide."

Foster said many valley residents are depressed about the economy and many people call her organization to talk to someone. People calling are often seeking financial assistance for crisis management and someone to listen to them other than the family and friends.

"We have 275 referrals for people," Foster said. "People are in need and reaching out. We are here for them 24 hours a day and seven days of a week."

The Crisis Hotline does work with the Hailey-based Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to help some people find safe shelter. It also works with law enforcement for intervention when necessary.

"Lots of the issues people are calling about are domestic situations where someone needs to talk or is in need of legal assistance," Foster said.

This year, in comparison to the last 20 years, there have been more suicide calls than any other year, Foster said.

The Crisis Hotline was started in 1987. The call center is always in need of volunteers, who must attend a six-week training course to be eligible to answer calls.

The Crisis Hotline will conduct its annual fireworks fundraising sale June 23 through July 4, in Hailey next to the farmers' market on Main Street. In addition, the organization will hold a fundraising dinner in the fall.

For details, call 788-0735 and for the 24-hour hotline call 726-3596.

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