Aspen Hope Center answers calls for help |

Aspen Hope Center answers calls for help

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen Hope Center spent its first full year of operation answering the phone, among other endeavers related to suicide prevention. The center’s hotline tallied 1,364 calls in 2011 – about half of which came from individuals in need of crisis intervention.

The other half were from people seeking information for themselves or someone else in the arena of mental-health services.

The center, founded in June 2010, has served 832 clients since it opened its doors, according to year-end numbers it recently released. Of the calls it received in 2011, 47 percent came from Aspen, 20 percent from Basalt, 14 percent from Carbondale, 10 percent from Glenwood Springs and 4 percent came from Snowmass Village. The remaining 5 percent came from New Castle, Rifle, Denver, other areas of Colorado or out of state.

“Our goal of reducing the stigma of suicide and mental health is coming to fruition as evidenced by increased calls to the Hope Center,” said Michelle Muething, the center’s lead clinician, in a press release. “When we first opened, we received a lot of calls asking for information about what who we are and what we do.”

Now, she said, people are turning to the center as a resource. About half of its clients are provided crisis intervention services, while the other half are provided with information about help that is available. Clients who need immediate assistance see an average of 11 contacts with the center.

This year, the center plans to expand its staff to include a bilingual, Spanish-speaking clinician and offer tele-psychiatry services.

The center’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program keeps clients in the community, an alternative to placement in a psychiatric hospital. The client is offered daily therapy with an assigned therapist for a set number of days, meets with a Hope Center clinician each day until their situation stabilizes, and then receives biweekly or weekly therapy.

To date, the center has also trained more than 1,500 people in the community in suicide prevention.

The Aspen Hope Center’s hotline – 970-925-5858 – operates 24 hours a day, every day.

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