METRO CRISIS SERVICES is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place from March 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. Citywide Banks will donate $7,500 to nominated charities based on voting results.
The need for emergency and sustained mental health support has never been more evident in the wake of recent shooting tragedies in Aurora and Newtown. Whether it’s anger, addiction, depression, or an underlying sense of helplessness, there is a growing number of people that find themselves on the brink of a crisis. Too often, families and friends are unaware or unable to help.
Fortunately, here in Colorado, there is a free 24/7 access point called the Metro Crisis Line, operated by Metro Crisis Services (MCS). There are no robot menus or answering machines.
Every call to 1-888-885-1222 is answered by a highly trained, mental health professional ready to give immediate, expert, crisis care.
Metro Crisis Line began taking calls in 2010, in response to a community outcry for 24-hour crisis and triage intervention. Metro Crisis Line is available at any time for people facing any type of mental health crisis. MCS has helped tens of thousands of individuals and families over the past two years.
“When you have a health crisis, you can go to the Emergency Room, but there was no option for someone facing a mental health crisis,” explained Monica Colbert, MCS Fundraising Director, who says the hotline handles calls ranging from someone who’s feeling down to someone who is on the verge of suicide.
MCS works closely with law enforcement so that they have somewhere to refer people who are obviously in a mental health crisis, especially during times of community or national tragedy, in an effort to lessen the burden on emergency departments, which are generally unprepared for mental health crisis..
What sets the Metro Crisis Line apart is that calls are only taken by licensed professionals – there are no volunteer call takers – 24/7, and they’ll not only take calls from people suffering from mental health issues but they’ll also take calls from friends and family members seeking advice for a loved one.
“About a third of our calls are from people not necessarily calling about themselves but calling because they are concerned about a loved one, which is part of what makes us different. You can’t get that anywhere else,” explained Colbert.
Additionally, according to Colbert, about 40% of their callers receive a follow up phone call. “Whether it’s to check in to see if they followed the necessary steps to get into recommended treatment programs or to call back in 30 minutes to see if they’re okay.” She said that in one case, an MCS clinician exchanged 23 calls with emergency service, support service and the client to resolve one caller issue.
Colbert further explained that many Metro Crisis Line calls come from people challenged with substance use disorder who will probably never seek treatment. Their conversations with the hotline staff are often the only care they receive.
In 2011, the Metro Crisis Line became the local affiliate for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Meaning if any call with a Colorado (720 or 303) area code comes into the national LifeLine hotline, it is rerouted to the Metro Crisis Line.
In addition to the hotline, MCS also offers an online resource directory for those seeking the right mental health professional or service in their neighborhood.
When MCS started, their goal was to offer three services: the Metro Crisis Line, the resource directory, and walk-in crisis center clinics, similar to urgent care facilities for emergency health issues.
With the first two levels complete, Metro Crisis Services is in the process of redeveloping their business plan to include the crisis center clinics (ideally three to five around the state).
Colbert says the recent tragedies have highlighted to the community that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed but that, so far, that hasn’t translated into a huge influx of financial help. The organization relies on a mix of funding sources, including individuals, businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments.
Although their hotline is professionally manned, they still need volunteers to help with fundraising events. This summer will kick off MCS’ first major fundraiser and community outreach event, a Derby Duck Race in City Park, called Hope Floats. Hope Floats will take place on August 24th and is open to the public. “It’s an awesome opportunity to engage in a community event, see what we’re all about and to support us, “ Colbert said.
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would allow Metro Crisis Services to expand some of their data management techniques to make them more scalable and sustainable. This growth would prepare Metro Crisis Line for state-wide expansion and the ability to reach the thousands of individuals and families struggling with mental health issues throughout Colorado. For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.MetroCrisisServices.org.
Vote to Give Metro Crisis Services a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with Metro Crisis Services. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of Denver/Boulder nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day vote on Facebook, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win 1 of 10 prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. For more information about the contest please visit www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.
How to Cast Your Vote – March 1 -14, 2013
The voting will take place at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to make sure they are logged into their personal Facebook account. If a user doesn’t have an account, it only takes minutes to set up a new Facebook account and it’s free. The online voting form will only be accessible for Citywide Banks Facebook Fans. To become a Fan, simply click on the “Like” button on top of any of the pages on Citywide’s Facebook Fan Page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Then, click on the link for the ”Charity Contest” tab to access the online voting page. Each Facebook account will be permitted one vote during the 14-day voting period.
Spread the Word about Voting for Metro Crisis Services
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado to cast their vote for your favorite nonprofit. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.