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Arkansas Crisis Center seeing uptick in calls to suicide hotline

The Arkansas Crisis Center received grant money from the TEGNA Foundation to grow its services in Northwest Arkansas and across the state.

ROGERS, Ark. — Channel 5 parent company TEGNA and its foundation recently awarded four nonprofits a total of $10,000. One of those agencies is the Arkansas Crisis Center.

"We were established in 1985 after a rash of suicides at the Rogers High School. So a group of volunteers decided that these students needed someone to talk to. So they developed a hotline for them to call in and to have someone listen to their needs on the other end of the line," said Rebecca Brubaker, the Arkansas Crisis Center (ACC) executive director.

The ACC is now in its 37th year serving those in Northwest Arkansas and around the state. It offers its own hotline and helps the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with calls in Arkansas.

"Our calls since COVID started in 2020 have risen 700% so prior to COVID, we were serving about 296 individuals on our lines. And today we’re serving 2,470 per month," Brubaker said.

Right now, the Crisis Center has seven to eight call specialists with a 75% answer rate and only one person per shift. But new federal funding will help double that number along with this local grant.

"We’re very happy to receive the money from the TEGNA Foundation, Channel 5. We will use the money to help with operating expenses," Brubaker said. "With the 988 new easy-to-remember number and so many individuals stressed with mental health issues, I think our numbers are going to continue to climb."

If you are struggling and need help, don't hesitate to pick up the phone.

"There’s a listening ear available 24/7 through our agency and we would love to talk to you," Brubaker said.

The Arkansas Crisis Center is also working on adding text and chat features to its hotline. Training for staff will begin soon and those services will be available once the center is accredited to offer those extra options sometime in the next six to nine months.

Arkansas Crisis Center Hotline: (888) 274-7472
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988

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