Increasing Access to Crisis Services
To celebrate our fiftieth, we’re growing our programs and demonstrating our commitment to serving low income, under-resourced community members. In response to the burgeoning community need, we are increasing access to crisis services by moving the crisis program to 990 W 7th Ave., adjacent to the Whitaker neighborhood. The new crisis center will house the 24/7 crisis line phone service as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space intended to minimize environmental triggers that may be re-traumatizing.
For over 50 years, the White Bird Crisis Department has offered immediate, short-term support for people experiencing crises through active listening, empathy, and intervention. As Lane County’s contracted Adult Crisis Line, we offer free crisis services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Services include phone and walk-in support for crisis intervention, mental health information and referral, and transportation assistance for people with mental health-related disabilities. Crisis services are open to individuals, couples, families, and groups.
A crisis can be a time of high anxiety, fear, sadness, or anger. Talking with someone, especially a neutral someone, can be helpful in sorting out feelings and moving toward positive change. Our Counselors help each caller explore their thoughts and feelings, clarify their issues and needs, and we can provide alternative perspectives. Clients call for many reasons, including anxiety, depression, anger management, suicidal or homicidal thoughts, grief, drug use, mental health disorders, abuse, or sexual assault. We support each caller to find ways to recover from their crisis and cope with their issues. We can also offer referrals for longer-term personal work.
White Bird Crisis Services are part of 15th Night, a community-wide partnership that helps more than 300 Bethel-Eugene 4J students who are navigating school and life without a permanent place to spend the night. Leveraging existing community resources, 15th Night focuses on the safety and well-being of vulnerable local youth who do not have a parent or guardian to support them. Our Crisis Line is the after-hours point of entry for the program.
In 2018, the crisis team had 13,387 client encounters, 2,743 of them walk-in and 10,644 through the telephone crisis line. There were 4,237 contacts with clients in crisis and 2,976 contacts with clients seeking mental health information and referral. We served 2,006 unhoused clients and diverted 636 emergency room visits.
White Bird provided 3,808 taxi rides in 2018, allowing up to three one-way taxi rides per month for people experiencing symptoms of Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI). The program enrolled 269 clients during this period after confirming their inability to ride the bus due to mental health symptoms. A one-time annual taxi ride was permitted for clients certified as experiencing an emergency in which transportation assistance proved helpful. The program currently averages 300 taxi rides monthly, totaling about 3,600 rides annually. In addition, White Bird provided 23 one-way Greyhound bus trips for screened and certified clients going to mental health or alcohol and drug treatment facilities.