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 Area Jurisdictions Support Funding for CrisisLink in FY09
 Funding will provide residents with vital services in times of crisis.

On April 28, 2008, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the County's FY09 budget, including $135,000 to help fund CrisisLink's 24/7 Crisis Hotlines . Fairfax County joins Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in continuing support so residents in crisis have somewhere to turn. Since 1969, thousands of highly trained, CrisisLink volunteers and staff have answered more than half a million crisis calls and responded to 25,000+ potential suicides.

"The strong, historical partnership between local governments--including Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria--and CrisisLink has saved precious lives and prevented tragedies every day year after year, and this partnership continues to provide our region's residents with a place to turn in their darkest hours, We are truly grateful to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Arlington County Board, and Alexandria City Council for their support of the vital life-saving services CrisisLink provides to residents. " says CrisisLink Executive Director Carol Loftur-Thun.

"Last year, CrisisLink answered 27,532 calls from people in crisis," says Margaret Mathis, CrisisLink's Director of Hotline Services and Training. "Local jurisdictions' support is essential because they provide 50% of the funding for our 24/7 Crisis Hotlines, but our community's businesses, foundations and individuals have increasingly stepped up to support our services. With call volume up 78%--and youth calls up 227%--since FY04, we need more volunteers and funding than ever to meet the need, and we're truly grateful for our community's strong support."


 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Community Demonstrate Strong Support for CrisisLink's Crisis Hotlines
 CrisisLink Deeply Grateful to volunteers, supporters and Fairfax Supervisors!

FFX Board Hearing, April 67 CrisisLink volunteers and supporters attended the April 2nd Fairfax County Board of Supervisors budget hearing to show their support for continued Fairfax County funding of CrisisLink's Crisis Hotlines. Last year alone, CrisisLink answered more than 7,600 calls from Fairfax residents in crisis.

Jennifer Topscher, a Braddock resident and member of CrisisLink's support group for those who have lost someone to suicide, spoke about her 20 year-old sister Jill, who died by suicide just over a year ago. Ms. Topscher's testimony revealed that Jill tried to reach out for help, but without a 24/7 crisis hotline available in her state, and unable to reach someone trained to assess her risk of suicide and help her through this crisis, Jill tragically ended up taking her own life. Jennifer stressed that Jill's story is an example of what can happen when people in crisis have nowhere to turn, and how critical it is for CrisisLink's 24/7 Crisis Hotlines to stay accessible for Fairfax residents.

The Board also heard testimony from CrisisLink Board Members John Neumann and Mike Fox, both Fairfax County residents, who explained that CrisisLink not only saves lives and prevents tragedies, but also saves Fairfax County over $1 million a year in police, 9-1-1, hospital, and follow-up treatment costs. CrisisLink leverages over $400,000 a year in donated professional services and in-kind contributions, so Fairfax County's funding of CrisisLink's Crisis Hotlines are a good investment for the County.

CrisisLink is deeply grateful to the many volunteers and supporters who stepped forward to express their support for continued funding of CrisisLink's services. The outpouring of support demonstrated CrisisLink has had a profound impact on many individuals and families.

CrisisLink is most grateful to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for ensuring that our life-saving Crisis Hotlines can continue to serve Fairfax residents in FY09. The Board unanimously supported continuing CrisisLink's longstanding, public-private partnership with Fairfax County, and showed their commitment to suicide prevention and mental health support for County residents. Please join us in thanking our local elected officials for their strong and continued support of CrisisLink's vital services:

Fairfax County residents: To thank Fairfax Supervisors for their support, please visit: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gisapps/myneighborhood/

Arlington County residents: To thank Arlington County Board Members for their support, please visit http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/CountyBoard/meetings/members/CountyBoardMeetingsMembersMain.aspx.

City of Alexandria residents: To thank Alexandria City Council Members for their support, please visit http://alexandriava.gov/council/default.aspx?id=42.


 LinkUp & Listen Raises Almost $82,000 for CrisisLink Programs

LUL logo On Saturday, April 12, 2008, the community came out in force to help CrisisLink celebrate 39 years of service to the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. region at LinkUp & Listen, our annual gala and auction event. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, auction donors, supporters and guests, almost $82,000 was raised to support CrisisLink's live saving and empowering programs.

CrisisLink honored several individuals and organizations for their distinguished leadership to ensure high quality services for those in crisis: Prince Leopold d'Arenberg from Europe and Azalea Charities, Inc.; Paul Di Vito; and Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Our thanks to everyone who supported CrisisLink through LinkUp & Listen this year. Your support, as well as the support of our many year-round supporters, is instrumental in ensuring CrisisLink is able to continue providing vital services to people facing suicide, trauma, loss, mental health crises, and other health and human services needs.

Stay tuned for details on next year's LinkUp & Listen! Until then, you can learn more about CrisisLink's programs and services through our website or by calling us at 703-527-6603.


 CrisisLink Strengthens Hotline Service and Community Education Programs
 New training module will give hotline listeners and trainers additional skills to handle callers in crisis.

ASIST Training
"Standards define; training enables." -- LivingWorks Education, Inc.

Staff members Mary Azoy and Margaret Mathis and volunteer Crisis Hotline trainer, Michelle Flanagan-Short, joined colleagues in California last month for a week-long train-the-trainer training in the "best practices" suicide prevention training known as "ASIST" (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). ASIST is an evidence-based training that helps people effectively recognize and intervene to prevent suicide. So far more than 750,000 individuals have been trained throughout the world. The training is a highly interactive, practical, and practice-oriented, two-day workshop.

The trip and training was paid for by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is mandating the basic 2-day ASIST training for all staff and volunteers throughout the U.S. at the local and regional crisis centers that, like CrisisLink, actually answer the calls to this national hotline. The ASIST model incorporates the Lifeline's national standards of suicide risk assessment so hotline staff can engage a caller in a natural conversation and provide compassionate, empathic support to each caller.

CrisisLink held its first successful 2-day ASIST workshop at the end of April, with Margaret Mathis and Michelle Flanagan-Short as trainers, and Mary Azoy as a consulting trainer. 17 hotline volunteers were trained in the $300/person training, made possible by scholarships from the Lifeline and CrisisLink. All current hotline volunteers will go through this training and ASIST training will be incorporated into all future Hotline training classes.

Our sincerest thanks to this initial group of wonderful volunteers who are forging the way for everyone else! Additional 2-day ASIST trainings are scheduled for July 12-13 and January 10-11.

American Association of Suicidology Conference, Boston, MA
In April, Margaret Mathis, Lindsay Paulette-Chapman, and Mary Azoy attended the 2008 American Association for Suicidology (AAS) Conference in Boston. Hotline staff and volunteers from across the country came together to share ideas and standards for service throughout the 3-day conference. This opportunity for staff to learn from peers is essential to keeping CrisisLink at the forefront of emerging research and evidence-based best practices.

"Networking with other centers around the country is invaluable in helping us continuously improve and maintain our high standards," said Margaret Mathis, CrisisLink's Director of Hotline Services and Training, upon returning from the conference.

Mary Azoy, CrisisLink's Director of Community Education and Crisis Response, presented two separate workshops titled, "Writing to Heal: A Poetry Workshop for Suicide Survivors" and "Emergent Adulthood: Suicide Prevention in the Transition from High School to College, Military or Independent Living."


 CrisisLink Volunteers Receive James B. Hunter III Community Hero Award
 Award recognizes important contributions by outstanding individuals and groups in the local community

CrisisLink's Crisis Hotline volunteers received the James B. Hunter III Community Hero Award this past Saturday, May 10 in recognition of their work staffing CrisisLink's Crisis Hotlines 16 hours a day and providing critical services to the community.

"CrisisLink's volunteers are critical to the hotlines, their work is extraordinary and heroic, and they are a critical resource across the organization to allow CrisisLink to provide our services to the community," said Margaret Mathis, CrisisLink's Director of Hotline Services and Training.

The awards, named after civic leader and former County Board Member James Hunter III, are presented each year as part of Arlington's Neighborhood Day celebration.

"Our volunteers are exceptional and multi-faceted," says Carol Loftur-Thun, "they dedicate over 17,000 hours each year and bring expertise, connections, and ideas that continually help CrisisLink improve and expand our services to the community."


 May is National Mental Health Month!
 May event will help residents understand depression, suicide prevention, and mental wellness; and empower them to help those in need.

For complete details, please visit our website.

Personal and Professional Perspectives on Depression featuring Dr. Kay Jamison
Thursday, May 29 at 6:45 p.m.

Download an event flier for more information or to share with friends and colleagues.


 Sponsors Needed for Event Honoring CrisisLink Volunteers

We are currently seeking sponsors for CrisisLink's annual Volunteer & Recognition Event to honor our volunteers. Sponsorship opportunities range from $500 to $10,000 and will help support CrisisLink's extensive volunteer training program to ensure our Crisis Hotlines continue to provide high quality, 24/7 service for the community.

By sponsoring the event, you will show CrisisLink's committed volunteers who give so much of their time to saving lives and preventing tragedies that you believe in what they do and stand behind their efforts to help those in our community when they need it the most.

Each year, volunteers donate more than 17,000 hours of their time to helping those in crisis in our community through CrisisLink-as volunteers answering crisis calls on our Crisis Hotlines; as outreach volunteers spreading the word about CrisisLink's life-saving programs; as special events volunteers who ensure the success of our fundraising events throughout the year; and as board and advisory council members guiding the organization and contributing so much. CrisisLink would not be able to provide the region with nationally-recognized programs to save lives and prevent tragedies without the commitment and dedication of these amazing volunteers.

To show our appreciation for all that our volunteers make possible, we will honor them at a special Volunteer & Recognition Event on June 14 at Reagan National Airport's Historic Terminal A Lobby.

We are currently seeking sponsorship support from area businesses, organizations, and individuals to make the event possible. By sponsoring the Volunteer & Recognition Event, you will show CrisisLink's volunteers that you value the life saving service they provide our community and make possible.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marshall Ellis, Director of Development, electronically or by phone at 703-516-6768.


Thank you for your support!

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