Help Hotline Crisis Center announces new name, website


The agency is now Help Network of Northeast Ohio

By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Since it was founded in 1971, the Help Hotline Crisis Center has drastically expanded the services it provides.

That’s why the agency has changed its name to something that more accurately reflects what it does: Help Network of Northeast Ohio. The rebranding initiative, which also includes a revamped website, was announced by CEO Vince Brancaccio on Monday.

“While suicide intervention and prevention remains a very important part of the work we do, we offer many more services to individuals and families in Northeast Ohio,” he said. “We feel that our new name better reflects the diversity of these services and will resonate with both those we serve and the many institutions and agencies that support our work.”

The agency started out in Youngstown, but has expanded over the years to serve people in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Lake and Ashtabula counties. It also is a national suicide-prevention lifeline provider, meaning that calls placed to the hot line from around the country can be routed to the Help Network.

In addition to its suicide- prevention service, the Help Network offers (or refers to other agencies) services related to a host of other areas, including: mental health, substance abuse, veterans assistance, homelessness, victims’ assistance, utilities assistance, health, housing, food, senior citizens and special needs. It operates a housing program, a homeless outreach, a community center, a program to help people with their finances and more.

The Help Network has 180,000 contacts with clients each year between the suicide hot line, 211 help line, and face-to-face interactions.

Calls have increased in recent years, driven partly by the opioid epidemic. The agency refers people suffering from addiction to treatment centers, but Brancaccio said they more often receive calls from people whose addiction has prevented them from taking care of their basic needs.

“They may not have food. They may not have shelter,” said Brancaccio. “That’s where we provide a lot of assistance.”

The Help Network’s website, www.HelpNetworkNEO.org, is designed to be more user-friendly, Brancaccio said. For example, it features a 211 help finder that gives users access to a database with 1,500-plus resources.

The changes, Brancaccio said, go hand-in-hand with the organization’s mission: “Improving lives by producing immediate, comprehensive services to support and connect people with community resources.”

“It’s not about the name,” he said. “It’s really about us and what we do.”

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