Articles, Depression

Where to go for help in Birmingham? An Interview with the Crisis Center

Did you know that Birmingham has a Crisis Center? Complete with mental health services, sexual assault services, a suicide hotline, a texting hotline just for teens, and more, The Crisis Center is there for anyone who needs it. Visit them at http://www.crisiscenterbham.org/ if you need help. I had the privilege of interviewing someone who works with the teen program. Read on to see what he had to say!

1. Tell us a bit about what you do.
My name is Randy Kerrigan and I am the Teen Link Program Coordinator for the Crisis Center. As a Program Coordinator, I make sure that the Teen Link program and hotline are running smoothly. I do this by recruiting, training, and managing the volunteers that answer the Teen Link phone lines and texts. Also, I do community education. This means that I travel to schools and to community organizations and promote the Teen Link hotline.

2. What would qualify as a teen crisis?
Crisis is self-defined. What may be a crisis for one person, could be a manageable situation for another. A crisis is considered anything that an individual may be ill equipped to handle because of either a lack of support, resources, or coping skills.

3. What would you tell a teen who is nervous about contacting The Crisis Center?
We pride ourselves in being a judgement free zone at The Crisis Center. If a teen is concerned about calling us, I would tell them that we will not judge them, we will not get them into trouble or tell their parents, we will not make fun of them, but we will try to understand where they are coming from and respond in the best way possible with resources and support.

4. About how many teens do you help per year?
Through our phone lines, we help around 250 to 300 teens a year. That number increases dramatically if you consider our outside trainings and presentations.

5. If somebody else wanted to do this for a living, what would be your advice?
This job is not for everyone. It takes a lot of empathy, understand, and an open mind. Most of all, it takes an understanding of taking care of yourself. It is really easy to concentrate on helping others so much that you neglect to take care of yourself. That is why we talk about and train ourselves to take of ourselves and to increase the support that we have around us.

6. Are kids and teenagers today more aware of mental health issues than before? Are they more likely to seek help for it?
I think that teenagers today are more aware of mental health issues. The stigma that once haunted mental health is slowly eroding away. I think that school counselors are becoming better trained in mental  health issues as well. Hopefully, this will lead to more teenagers stepping forward and seeking the help that they deserve.

7. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Take care of each other. Look out for one another. A teenager in crisis will look to their peers before they look to anyone else. Learn about the resources that your school provides and be aware of what is going on around you. You could be helping a fellow classmate without even knowing it by just being empathetic and understanding.

The Teen Link phone number is (205)328-5465. Call or text.Teen Link is available every day of the year.
During the school year, our hours are from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
In the summer, we are open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Visit http://crisiscenterbham.org/crisis-intervention-prevention/teen-link/

(Written by Megan Flint.)

Kristen

Kristen is a contributor for Girl Spring. Her posts focus on Girl Spring updates and current events.

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