KS Suicide Prevention Center might be forced to disconnect phone lines

LAWRENCE, KAN. (KSNW) – A hotline designed to help others is experiencing a crisis of its own.

The Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence is in jeopardy, $90,000 in the red for next year.

They’ve raised some of the money, but still need almost $30,000 or the hotline will be forced to shut down at the end of the month.

If the organization does not have the funding needed by December 5th, Comcare Crisis Center in Wichita might be the only suicide prevention center in the state.

“It’s just so important that we can still exist,” explained Katie Schneider, a volunteer at Headquarters, Inc.

The non-profit has been helping thousands around the state of Kansas for almost 50 years.

A campaign called “Save HQ” started last month. Budget cuts at KU eliminated a $70,000 grant to the hotline, plus donations, including those from the United Way, dropped by $20,000.

“I think that we’re doing everything we can to fundraiser and I really hope that it does work out. I was definitely concerned when I heard about that,” said Schneider.

She’s been working at the call center for 9 months, and says the job can be difficult, but very rewarding.

“At the end of the day, it’s really meaningful and it can be really hard but it’s really important to have good self-care.”

The crisis center answers around 20,000 calls a year from 104 counties. Comcare in Sedgwick Co. handles the 105th county, but if the lines are tied up, the calls will roll over to Lawrence.

“Our services are needed now more than ever,” said Andy Brown, Executive Director, Headquarters, Inc.

Brown says there’s been a steady increase in crisis calls over the last 9 years, and if their lines are disconnected, calls will be routed to St. Louis.. Where volunteers may not be as familiar with resources available in Kansas.

“The closer your crisis center is to your community it’s a better relationship the crisis center is going to have with knowledge with who the professionals are in the community and who takes referrals,” said Brown.

According to Brown, the hotline is still in need of $27,000 by Monday night.

If you would like to donate to help save Headquarters Inc. the link is here.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines

COMCARE: (316) 660-7500

Local Hotline: (785) 842-2345

National Hotline: (800) 273-8255