Hawaii Department of Health launches new crisis line

Hawaii Department of Health launches new crisis line

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In Hawaii, suicide is the most common cause of fatal injuries among residents, outpacing car crashes, homicide, poisoning and drowning. It is estimated that one suicide is committed every two days in Hawaii.

In fact, about 20 percent of the 75,000 calls received on the Department of Health's ACCESS Line last year related to crisis intervention, according to Steven Balcom, Crisis/Residential Treatment Services Coordinator with the Adult Mental Health Division of the Hawaii State Department of Health.

The Hawaii State Department of Health's Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) is keeping pace with our community's growing need for mental health services.

Since the statewide ACCESS Line program was launched in 2002, this phone line has served a two-fold purpose. It has provided phone counseling and support to individuals who are contemplating suicide or experiencing other types of personal crises and it has been a valuable resource for Hawaii residents seeking personalized advice on how to access State-funded mental health services.

After thoroughly reviewing how to effectively address both needs, AMHD has decided to offer two separate phone lines to the public. One phone line will be dedicated to helping people find out if they are eligible for government-sponsored mental health services.  The number for the new AMHD Eligibility Line, which is now operational, is 643-AMHD.

The other phone line is the newly named Crisis Line of Hawaii, which goes into effect July 1, 2015.  The Crisis Line of Hawaii is "warm line," staffed 24/7, thanks to funding for two additional full-time equivalent positions. AMHD also continues to use call-in staff to ensure around the clock phone coverage.

"This new phone line is strictly dedicated to helping individuals who are facing crises," Balcom said. "To ensure easy access, we have renamed the ACCESS Line the Crisis Line of Hawaii. This reflects our renewed focus on our program's primary mission of providing crisis support to the community."

Although the name of the suicide prevention and counseling line has changed, the phone and fax numbers remain the same.

On Oahu, it is 832-3100.

Neighbor island residents may call toll free at 1-800-753-6879. The fax number is (808) 453-6391.

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