OKEECHOBEE – Need help and don’t know who to call? Call 2-1-1.
“211 has been the health line and the crisis line in this area for more than 50 years,” said Chad Adcock, Community Relations Specialist, from the 211 Palm Beach of the Treasure Coast, explained at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners.
211 is a community helpline and crisis hotline that provides suicide prevention, crisis intervention, information, assessment, and referral to community services for people of all ages. Adcock said mental health, the housing crisis and substance abuse issues are some of the most common topics of calls.
“We need to continue to bring awareness of the help available to the citizens of this county,” he said.
One service the program offers is the Sunshine program for senior residents who don’t have family or friends to regularly check on them. 211 operators call the registered seniors daily to check in. Adcock said during a recent Sunshine call, an Okeechobee woman told the caller she was feeling very depressed and suicidal. The Sunshine operator was able to connect the woman with a resource specialist to get her help. He said when the Sunshine operator called the woman the next day, she said she was feeling better and thanked the Sunshine operator for helping to save her life.
“If you’re feeling a difficult time, if it’s stressful, if you just need someone to talk to, call 211,” he said.
The free helpline serves Indian River County, Martin County, Okeechobee County, Palm Beach County, and St. Lucie County.
The commission proclaimed the month of February as 211 Helpline Awareness Month. The proclamation states:
“211 helpline and crisis line continues to be that beacon of hope providing lifesaving crisis support and guidance when people are overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn.
“During these challenging times that include pandemic impact and economic instability and recent hurricanes, 211’s caring and highly trained staff have been the frontline responders 24/7 through it all.
“People of all ages and walks of life are reaching out for their growing struggles with mental & emotional health, addiction, housing, health and other concerns, 211 staff listen to each and every person to provide available resource options and to help them strategize and problem solve.
“211 has specialized advocacy and support programs for the community that include Caregiver Support, Help Me Grow and 211’s life-saving Sunshine daily phone calls which continue to brighten the lives of isolated seniors and caregivers.
“211 responds to the 988 Lifeline number and support lines that include First Responders and MYFLVET for veterans with peer-to-peer support providing assistance to these specialized groups and their families.”