Read the latest information on HeartLine
Dec 21, 2011
Today we present a brief interview with one of our outstanding HELP volunteers, Eric Smith. Eric has been volunteering with HeartLine for many years and even takes days of vacation from work to help us with our presentations. We thank Eric for his support and wanted to share a little about him. Here goes:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Eighth of nine children, OSU graduate (BS-EET), single, Broadcast Engineer by trade/volunteer by profession (wasn’t planned that way).
What brought you to HeartLine?
…a news report. I had just joined a new company, and about a year later a strong urge came over me to volunteer, but nothing ever seemed to fit. I searched and researched for quite a while, about six to eight months or so, and then one evening, I came home and switched on the news and I saw a news report about CONTACT needing telephone listeners. And so, I called. So what brought me to HeartLine was a desire to help others who were struggling, feeling alone, and hurting.
Why did you decide to become a HELP volunteer?
Why? Because children, teens, young adults, are dying too soon for reasons that can be understood, that is, if they knew who they could talk to and given the opportunity to learn how to be open. Challenging, but to the depth of degree, I realized there soon after. And being a witness to their enlightenment about suicide–that’s why I remain.
During my listener’s training, Ronny Greenberg came and introduced us to Contact’s teen suicide awareness and prevention program, at that time called “CHOICES”. It was during his presentation that I realized as well as being a telephone listener, I wanted to be a part of something that was impacting the youth. Even though I had never taken a speech class or given any sort of presentation while in college, I knew this is where I belonged. For me, speaking in front of a group of people was something I actively avoided. Speaking it front of a group was scary and felt very daunting, especially to an audience of “highly informed” teenagers, but after I started doing it, I realized it wasn’t that bad and really started enjoying it.
What is your favorite thing about being a HELP presenter?
My favorite thing about being a HELP Presenter is witnessing the “Ah-ha” moment in the eyes of students. Suicide can be difficult to discuss without the discussion turning into a moral, immoral, or melancholic debate. However, listening to the students sharing their insights and asking questions about an often misunderstood and confusing decision that normally doesn’t come about in everyday discussions is very humbling. I mean, how often will anyone discuss the reasons why of suicide? Students want to know, and they do want to understand why their friends or loved ones died by their own hands. Mostly, when you see the hope returning to the face of a student that completely understands what you are presenting…I don’t know how to describe it.
What would you say to someone that is thinking about volunteering?
“Just do it!” That’s what I would say. Volunteering is difficult work, but it isn’t difficult because the work is hard. It’s difficult because volunteering challenges you to change, to view life as you never expected. Volunteering challenges you to think and venture outside of your comfort zone, and if you allow it, outside of your understanding. I also think for some, volunteering can be somewhat intimidating, but the rewards are immeasurable and countless, even when the discussion is the cause and effect of suicide. Volunteering, in my mind is a misconception, in that, as a volunteer, I perceive I have something to give, when in reality I have nothing to give. Everyone has their answers to their life issues. They’re just buried beneath a lot of stuff, like hurt, anger, resentment, fear, leading to a state of confusion and despair, and perhaps hopelessness, but their answers are there. Sometimes we need a little outside perspective from someone else to help clear some of the debris. If you’re thinking about volunteering, the urge has always been inside you. The thought process, you thinking about it, is only your realization that it’s there and it’s coming to life. Just do it and let it happen. You won’t regret it.
For more information about becoming a HELP volunteer, visit our Suicide Prevention and Outreach Programs page or our Volunteer Opportunities page.
HeartLine, Oklahoma’s Community Crisis Connection, needs community volunteers to help address youth suicide rates in Oklahoma. You can make a difference by becoming a volunteer presenter for HeartLine’s Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, the Healthy Education for Life Program (HELP)! The next training session will be held on January 14th from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Pre-registration and full attendance is required. To sign up for this training, please contact HeartLine’s Director of Suicide Prevention & Outreach Programs, Lisa Harper, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 405.840.9396 ext. 114.
In Oklahoma, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 – 24. The vision of HELP is to equip Oklahoma youth with the knowledge and intervention skills to prevent youth suicide. HELP works towards this vision by providing Oklahoma youth with an interactive, multi-faceted training. Through the combination of a video, lecture, and group activity, students learn the warning signs of suicide and how to get help for themselves or for a friend. The video-based program currently reaches approximately 4,000 youth each year. In the 2010-2011 school year, 30.8% of students identified themselves or a friend as being at risk for depression or suicide.
HeartLine has been serving Oklahoma since 1971, and provides suicide prevention outreach programs, listening and crisis intervention services. HeartLine’s Call Specialists are trained in crisis intervention and are available around the clock through HeartLine’s phone-based services, including 2-1-1, the 24/7 helpline 848-CARE, the Oklahoma Problem Gambling Helpline 1-800-522-4700 and two national suicide prevention lines 1-800-SUICIDE and 1-800-273-TALK.
HeartLine, Oklahoma’s Community Crisis Connection, is seeking honoree nominations for its eleventh annual Festival of Hope: an Evening of Acclamation and Admiration. Each year, HeartLine recognizes individuals, organizations, and community initiatives that have enhanced the quality of life in Oklahoma. Potential honorees can be nominated by any member of the general public. To nominate a potential honoree, complete the nomination form and return to HeartLine by January 31st, 2012. This year’s event will be held on Friday, August 24th, 2012 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
Previous honorees have been recognized for their professional activities, volunteer efforts, or philanthropic vision, and include recipients such as Mike and Susan Turpen (’11), Tom and Lisa Price (’10), Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby (’09), The Tree Bank Foundation (’08), Oklahoma Lawyers for Children (’07), Cliff Hudson (’06), Crossings Community Church (’05), Jackie and Barbara Cooper (‘04), United Way of Central Oklahoma (’03), and Judge Nancy Coats Ashley (’02). (A full list of previous honorees can be found on the HeartLine website at http://heartlineoklahoma.org/our-events/festival-of-hope.)
HeartLine has been serving Oklahomans in crisis since 1971 and provides suicide prevention outreach programs, compassionate listening, information and referral services, and crisis intervention services. Call specialists are available around the clock answering HeartLine’s various helplines, including: 2-1-1, 848-CARE, the Oklahoma Problem Gambling Helpline 1-800-522-4700, and two national suicide prevention lines, 1-800-SUICIDE and 1-800-273-TALK.
HeartLine’s mission is to provide help, hope, and information 24 hours a day.
For more information on the Festival of Hope honoree nomination process or information on HeartLine in general contact call 405-840-9396 or email email@example.com.
Dec 12, 2011
Nutter has been with HeartLine since 2005, most recently serving as chief operating officer. Before joining HeartLine, she was the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado, Kansas. Nutter also served in a variety of management roles with the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas. She holds a BS in Psychology and Human Services and a Master of Human Resources and Organizational Development, both from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.
“We are thrilled to have Kelly as our new executive director,” HeartLine’s President Joe Hight said. “After an extensive search process, we are confident that she brings the experience, knowledge, and leadership skills we need to ensure HeartLine moves in a positive directon.”
HeartLine’s mission is to connect Oklahomans to help, hope, and information 24 hours a day. Since 1971, HeartLine has been providing vital services to Oklahomans in crisis. Helping meet a wide variety of needs for all ages, HeartLine is a proud United Way partner agency with United Way of Central Oklahoma, United Way of Pottawatomie County, United Way of Stephens County, and United Way of Ponca City. More than 100 dedicated volunteers assist HeartLine in providing vital services to Oklahomans in crisis. HeartLine programs and services include:
Call Center Helplines
2-1-1 HeartLine’s information and referral line for health and human service needs. HeartLine answers this line for 40 counties in central and western Oklahoma 24 hours a day, seven days a week. HeartLine’s database of over 3,000 partner agencies and 6,000 individual services connects Oklahomans with help, hope, and information.
848-CARE Since 1971, HeartLine has been assisting Oklahomans in crisis through compassionate listening. Certified call specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help Oklahomans in crisis situations.
1-800-273-TALK and 1-800-SUICIDE are the two national suicide prevention lifelines answered in the state of Oklahoma by HeartLine.
1-800-522-4700 is the Oklahoma Problem Gambling Helpline, answered for the entire state by HeartLine certified call specialists. In partnership with the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling, HeartLine brings those addicted to gambling and their families help, hope and information.
Suicide Prevention and Outreach Programs
Healthy Education for Life Program (HELP)- HeartLine’s suicide prevention outreach initiative, the Healthy Education for Life Program (HELP) provides free, interactive training to increase awareness and empower students to prevent bullying and suicide among peers. Since its inception in 1997, HELP has reached over 41,000 students in the Oklahoma City metro area with its in-class presentations and seminars. HELP learning opportunities focus on dispelling the negative stigma of getting help for mental illness and suicidal tendencies, understanding the warning signs of suicide in peers, and learning how to take actions so that at-risk students are identified and receive the help they need. ASK-LISTEN-TELL is the cornerstone of HELP and is a simple and easily remembered model that students can employ if they suspect a peer is depressed or suicidal.
Fore more information on HeartLine and its programs, visit www.heartlineinc.org.