Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help Launch IMAlive: a live online crisis network

The Issue

19 million Americans struggle with depression & untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. 2/3 of people who struggle with depression never seek treatment. There are an estimated 840,000 suicide attempts & more than 32,000 people die by suicide in America each year.

Many people are unwilling or unable to reach out to traditional crisis hotlines. Studies show that compared to telephone and face-to-face communication, people are most comfortable / willing to reach out for help online via written communication. More than ever, people are communicating through instant messaging & phone texting. The primary current forms of crisis intervention and suicide prevention are telephone hotlines and face-to-face (i.e. counseling and treatment centers).

There is a tremendous need for an online network.

TWLOHA has an online audience of over 500,000. Since 2006, we have responded to more than 100,000 messages from people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

The Plan

TWLOHA is partnering with Kristin Brooks Hope Center to launch IMAlive, the first live online crisis network with 100% of its staff certified & trained in crisis intervention. Since 1998, 1-800-SUICIDE has responded to more than 3 million calls from people in crisis.

KBHC built the National Hopeline Network by networking 200 community crisis centers through national toll-free numbers, 1-800-SUICIDE/SUICIDA. KBHC developed the software necessary for location-based routing to allow for appropriate referrals as well as emergency rescue. KBHC will develop state-of-the-art tools to manage routing of chats & crisis calls/chats.

Need: 1,000 volunteers to launch. Minimum of 50 hours training as well as a series of tests & screenings.

Training costs $250 per person & will be provided by the QPR Institute, regarded as the leader in crisis intervention training.

Our plan is to use the internet to allow thousands of trained crisis line workers to create the first virtual crisis call center.

The Outcome

Once launched, IMAlive will allow crisis responders to reach millions of people through its custom built instant messaging service.

IMAlive will provide online support to people who are unwilling or unable to make phone calls to traditional crisis hotlines.

The IMAlive network will provide access to online crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be the first crisis network with 100% of its staff and volunteers certified and trained in crisis intervention.

We’re currently in the BETA testing phase of IMAlive training. We plan to have training for 1000 volunteers completed by end of Summer 2010. IMAlive will launch Fall 2010.

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