As WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports, the change means Centre County residents will now speak with someone familiar with local services.
Some people who call the local Centre Helps hotline are considering suicide. Others are struggling financially.
Leanne Lenz is executive director of the agency, which runs that hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She said Centre Helps not only offers a nonjudgmental listening ear. It also acts as a hub, connecting people with resources.
“So, if they need food, if they need housing, we’ll work with the other nonprofits in our community to help them with those issues,” Lenz said.
Starting in October, when people in Centre County call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, their calls will be routed to Centre Helps. Those roughly 60 calls a month currently go to call centers in Maryland or New York.
Lenz said it’s not uncommon for someone who’s feeling suicidal or depressed to have other challenges.
"We feel like we’ll be able to connect those folks with the local resources and really give them some hope that some of these other issues aren’t permanent, there are solutions to some of these problems, and there’s hope for the future,” she said.
The Centre Helps hotline is available now, by calling 814-237-5855.