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Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association hoping to expand warm line service

Marilyn Johnston secretary of the Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association and chair Kevin Grant talk about the new warm line started this summer and plans to expand the service during a presentation to the Municipality of Barrington’s Committee of the Whole on Oct. 15
Marilyn Johnston secretary of the Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association and chair Kevin Grant talk about the new warm line started this summer and plans to expand the service during a presentation to the Municipality of Barrington’s Committee of the Whole on Oct. 15 - Kathy Johnson
SHELBURNE, N.S. —

The Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association is hoping to expand the times of operation for the non-crisis phone line it started in July called a warm line.
Currently, the service is available Tuesday and Friday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m. and is staffed by highly trained volunteer phone operators.
“We’d like to expand our service to include more nights and more times during the day,” said Marilyn Johnston secretary of the association in a presentation to the Municipality of Barrington’s Committee of the Whole on Oct. 15. 
“We have a second operator training course coming up in late November so we’re actually recruiting right now” for volunteers to help," she said.
As Johnston explained, the warm line is a non crisis phone line for anyone dealing with mental heath issues of any sort. 
“Perhaps you just need someone to chat with briefly, maybe you’re dealing with grief or depression, or anxiety, sadness, stress or any of the stuff that life throws at us.  It also provides short- term emotional support and a plan to move on for the folks that make that phone call.”
Johnston said the warm line service is extended “to all folks who need someone to talk to, but we are particularly concerned about seniors in Shelburne County. We have a lot of seniors in Shelburne County. A lot of them are isolated, lonely and alone and not supported. That’s one of the reasons we want to expand our service, to be better able to serve those people better.”
Johnston said volunteers are trained using the ADEPTS model, explaining the A is for acceptance. 
“The first part of the call is to gain the confidence and trust of the person who’s calling. D define the problem, why is the person calling and what is the person dealing with. E to explore the options that may be available to that person. We’re not medical people so we do not provide advice with this service. This service is to help the person figure out themselves what they need to do to help themselves. Exploring those options, we’re developing a plan for that person to move forward, so P is for plan. T is for the close of the call…it has to be done in a certain manner. S is for self care, not for the caller but for the person who took the call. We have two people who work the line at once so at the end of the call there’s always the opportunity to do a de-brief.”
The association is hoping to expand the warm line service to Sunday afternoons initially and possibly Friday evenings, said Johnston.  Volunteer warm line operators work out of one of three central locations in the county, said Johnston, adding they would like to get 10 to 12 more people trained to help provide the service.  
Anyone interested in volunteering or finding out more information can contact coordinator, Cindy Hagen, at [email protected]; or message the Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association on Facebook.  
The association also has a website:  shelburnecountymentalhealth.com
The warm line number is 1-833-927-6546.
The Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association is a community-based, not-for-profit group that seeks to advocate for and improve mental health in Shelburne County by reducing stigma, promoting recovery and building resiliency.

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