"I am alive today because of the Peer-Run Warm Line. I called every day for three and a half years because of excruciating grief after my husband of twenty-four years died suddenly in my arms. I lost my home, and one night afterwards, I was violently raped. I would not have made it through those challenges without the well-trained counselors at the Warm Line. They constantly reminded me that I could make it through this. They knew me by name and became my family. I survived because they knew how to deal with trauma and crisis. All these experiences were life-shattering but because of the Warm Line, I not only survived, I grew and thrived."
That's Heather. She's a frequent caller at the Warm Line run by the Mental Health Association of San Francisco — or she was, until its funding was drastically reduced. She and thousands of others like her are in trouble if we don't do something now. There is an urgent mental health crisis underway in California, and we need the services of nonprofits like the Warm Line now more than ever.
Sign the petition to urge California lawmakers to protect the Warm Line! And if you'd like to help by donating, too, click here.
The Warm Line is a phone and chat service that provides emotional support to anyone who calls in, using an empathetic "peer-run" model in which counselors can relate to callers based on their own past experiences. Not exactly a "hotline," this organization aims to fill a gap in the mental health system by helping people who are struggling — and either can't afford a therapist, or don't know where else to turn — before they reach a crisis point.
The Warm Line was established in 2014 by the San Francisco Health Department, and quickly became a staple in the community. More than 30,000 people call into the Line each year, and demand for their services is growing. Yet instead of expanding this crucial mental health operation — as the nonprofit had hoped — the opposite has happened.
In June 2018, funding for the Warm Line shrank dramatically. When that happened, counselors were laid off, phone lines were shut down during weekends and nights, and countless people who relied on this service were left in limbo. Even worse: while the Warm Line was once open to everyone in the state of California — some 40 million people — now, it is only able to take calls from people in the nine Bay Area counties, meaning 32 million people in the state no longer have access to this vital emotional support service. And if the Warm Line doesn't get more funding soon, even more cuts could follow.
Timing is crucial. This month, lawmakers in California will decide whether or not to consider funding for the Warm Line as an item in the state's budget. If we can show them how much people need and want these essential mental health services, we have a real chance to save the Warm Line and support Californians!
We only have a few weeks to remind the state how important this is. Sign now to demand that the state of California properly fund the Warm Line, and take mental health seriously!