Jackson Co. mental health hotline seeks staffing help from Lines for Life

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Changes are coming to the Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Line which the county says will only help better serve community members needing help.

“We would prefer to have our staff able to answer these calls,” County Commissioner Rick Dyer said at Wednesday’s meeting. “But we certainly need somebody there for when folks are in crisis.”

The Jackson County commissioners voted Wednesday to get help from a regional crisis network for the local mental health crisis hotline.

Portland-based non-profit Lines for Life runs crisis intervention services across the state.

Now, it will run the Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Line during the overnight hours.

“We run a 24/7 crisis line and we have struggled with the workforce shortage to be able to get enough staff to cover the overnights,” said Rick Rawlins, the manager of crisis and outpatient services at Jackson County Mental Health.

Rawlins says this change comes because of the county’s struggle to find qualified people to staff the 24 hour hotline during those hours.

“We need to have masters level clinicians that are covering that crisis line,” Rawlins said. “So having overnight staff has been a struggle for the last over a year.”

Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton says callers won’t be able to tell the difference between local providers and its staff.

“We step into the shoes of the local provider to support their clients who call in crisis after hours,”  said Holton.

Holton says they have helped many counties across the state in staffing their hotlines – an important resource for those who are struggling.

“We do three things really well,” he said.  “We do crisis intervention, we do prevention work, and we do policy and advocacy around substance abuse and suicide.”

Holton says while the holidays can be especially difficult for those in a mental health crisis, resources are out there to help those who are struggling.

If you or someone you know is struggling through a mental health crisis, you can call Jackson County Mental Health’s 24/7 crisis line at 541-774-8201 or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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