Mental Health Awareness: Who answers when you call Crisis Services?

Mental Health Awareness

(WIVB) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month. News 4 is working to raise awareness about mental health and help fight the stigma surrounding mental health conditions.

Jessica Pirro, CEO of Crisis Services, joined us Tuesday on News 4. One of the questions she was asked was, who picks up when you call Crisis Services?

“On the other end of the line are amazing individuals that are trained in various types of backgrounds — social work, counselling, psychology, various types of educational backgrounds — who are also then trained on top of that by our staff here on crisis intervention and response,” Pirro said.

“They’re there strictly for that individual, that caller. Really, our first point of that conversation is to make sure they’re safe, they’re OK, and what we can do for them today, what can we help them with today? And from there we’ll determine what the best next step is in that conversation, what resources they might need, or if were going to have to dispatch and get our other services here at Crisis Services involved if we have a high-risk type of call.”

Pirro added that callers can remain anonymous.

“It’s confidential,” she said. “We do a lot of supportive counselling on our hotline. People can call anonymously for that type of support.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, help is available. Erie County’s Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours a day: 716-834-3131. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day: 1-800-273-8255. For more information, visit

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