To respond to individuals and families in crisis
HELP and HOPE are important part of who we are. Not only because HELPline and HOPE Place merged in 1999 to create Crisis Services of North Alabama, but also because they describe the most important things we do. Our programs bring help and hope to people in crisis.
HELPline volunteers assist troubled people through difficult situations. There are times when life throws something at us that we just can’t handle and don’t want to face. It might happen when someone you care about dies, or you lose your job, or face a bitter divorce. In those dark times, talking to someone who’s willing to listen and to care can make all the difference. That’s what our Crisis Line counselors do best. “Emotional first aid” is a phone call way at 256-716-1000. Crisis Services is also part of the national suicide prevention network and the suicide hotline for North Alabama and South Central Tennessee.
HOPE Place offers emergency shelter and other supportive services to victims of domestic violence, mostly women and children but to men as well. Police responded to a staggering 4,449 domestic violence calls in 2010, but statistics can’t begin to describe the horrors of domestic violence. Victims come to HOPE Place beaten, battered, confused and bewildered that someone they love and trust could be so vicious and hurt them so badly. We sheltered 400 people in 2010. Our advocates help thousands of victims who don’t come to shelter obtain protection from abuse orders and develop plans to help keep them safe.
Rape Crisis Counselors and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners help victims of sexual assault cope with a horrible crime. A thief steals property but a rapist steals your very body and uses it, against your will, for their own cruel sadistic perversions and the trauma doesn’t always end when the rapist leaves. Victims still face police, forensic medical exams, courts, and a culture that all too often still treats victims as if they did something to invite the attack. “She shouldn’t have dressed like that! What was she doing there! She had too much to drink!” Our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners conduct forensic medical exams and treat minor physical injuries with respect and compassion in a private non-threatening environment. Our rape crisis counselors help victims and their families recover from the horrible emotional trauma they’ve suffered. Police bring an average of three rape victims to our SANE room each week. If victims are badly hurt our nurses go to the hospitals with them.
2-1-1 is a universal telephone abbreviation that helps connect people with needed, often critical community services. Started by the United Way in Atlanta, 2-1-1 is being implemented across the country as funds are available. Crisis Services is the call center for much of North Alabama. Pick up a phone, dial 2-1-1 and we can help you find help for just about any problem you face. In a very short period of time 2-1-1 has become a valuable community resource. In the 2 weeks immediately following the devastating tornados in April of 2011, Alabama’s 2-1-1 answered 20,000 calls for help. The work became so critical that we set up booths at the FEMA disaster recovery centers.
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