Contact Lifeline in ‘urgent need’ of new location

Posted on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm

By Marian Galbraith, staff writer

After 32 years of serving the Highland Rim area, including 20 years in its current location, Contact Lifeline of the Highland Rim is now in urgent need of a new home.

“We’re in a bit of a bind right now,” said assistant director Ellen Stowers, “because we get most of our funding from United Way and various grants, but those funds are already dedicated for this year.

“Our Internet and phone services are covered for the year, but we hadn’t budgeted for rent or utilities, since our current landlord has been donating

Assistant director Ellen Stowers, center, looks on as trained volunteers Bri and Don, whose last names are kept confidential, respond to callers at Contact Lifeline of the Highland Rim, a free crisis hotline for residents of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin and Moore counties. The non-profit, 501c3 organization is currently in need of a new office location. (Staff photo by Marian Galbraith)

Assistant director Ellen Stowers, center, looks on as trained volunteers Bri and Don, whose last names are kept confidential, respond to callers at Contact Lifeline of the Highland Rim, a free crisis hotline for residents of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin and Moore counties. The non-profit, 501c3 organization is currently in need of a new office location. (Staff photo by Marian Galbraith)

that all this time.”

While Stowers did not wish to disclose the organization’s current location, she said the current owner needs the space back for its own expanding needs.

“We need about 1,000 square feet with electricity and water, so if anyone can donate the space and/or utilities, that would be great,” Stowers said, “or we might be able to work something out on a discounted or low-cost facility.”

Fortunately, Stowers said there will be a fundraiser for the organization this year on Oct. 5, namely, the suicide awareness walk at Winchester City Park sponsored by MAD SAM, an acronym for “Making A Difference Suicide Awareness Movement.”

However, a new office location for the help line is still needed as soon as possible

“Many people don’t realize that there have been 938 suicides in Tennessee in 2011, and there have been nine in our four-county area so far this year,” Stowers said.

“The event in Winchester this fall will feature a Kids Zone and other activities for children, a poker run, food and refreshments, a Battle of the Bands, and a free concert during the walk itself by performers including the songwriter of the last song recorded by Mindy McCready, who committed suicide earlier this year.”

According to its web information, Contact Lifeline of the Highland Rim is an accredited, Christian-based 24-hour help line service that is free to residents of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin and Moore counties.

With its current staff of 28 active volunteers on various shifts, Contact Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis intervention, referral, and reassurance services to anyone in need.

Not to be confused with 911 emergency services, Contact Lifeline serves as a safe place to discuss personal problems including relationship issues, confusion and depression while also accepting calls from victims of spousal, child, or elder abuse.

Volunteers trained under the direction of the Family Counseling Center in Manchester respond to the emotional needs of callers with confidential, non-judgmental, active listening, and by fostering self-directed resolution, referrals or intervention through the telephone with volunteers, according to its website.

In addition to the call-in helpline, Lifeline’s “Contact Reassurance” program provides daily outbound calls to elderly and/or disabled individuals who are home bound at a designed time each day.

Volunteers check on their overall well-being, remind them to take medication as prescribed, and provide a link to life with a friendly visit over the phone. This service is provided at no cost to the client or their family.

“We receive referrals for this program from doctors, family members, neighbors, even nursing home staff,” Stowers said, “and it can take some of the burden off of others who might be caring for these individuals.

“An added benefit of this program is that it helps many people to remain self-reliant who might not otherwise be able to.”

Tax-deductible donations can be made by check to the Family Counseling Center with the memo, “for Contact Lifeline/MAD SAM,” at P.O. Box 1614, Tullahoma TN 37388.

Anyone with information on an office space is invited to call 931-455-7150, or visit www.contactlifelinehr.org.

Additional information can be found on Facebook at “Contact Lifeline of the Highland Rim,” or by email to gethelp@contactlifeline.net.

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