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!
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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.
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
American Association of Suicidology
Conference, Boston, MA
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
"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."
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
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
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!