GRANT COUNTY - The David Romprey Oregon Warmline, where people can make a toll-free call for a listening ear, has recently added two Grant County operators to its list.

Community Counseling Solutions operates the phone line statewide at 1-800-698-2392.

"This service is for any human that needs a confidential conversation - anyone who wants to be heard," said Angel Moore of Tigard, Warmline coordinator.

And that's the Warmline motto: "People just want to be heard."

The aim is to give people support, particularly during times of struggle.

The Warmline is staffed by about 100 operators who've received a five-day Intentional Peer Support (IPS) training for certification, providing nonclinical and nonmedical support.

The operators are in 11 of the 36 Oregon counties, including five in Eastern Oregon.

The two local operators said that they've already received several calls since they started working two weeks ago, and they've had some repeat callers. The Eagle is not using their names because of the sensitive and confidential nature of their work.

They emphasized that they aren't a resource line or professional mental health counselors, but they'll listen to people without judgement or criticism.

"Sometimes people want to fix problems, but we're just there to listen and learn and grow together," Moore said. "People generally have their own answers we are there to help them bring it out."

The IPS model used by the operators addresses four tasks: creating a connection through peer support; identifying and validating others' world view and stories; providing mutual support to build trust, and encouraging the caller to move forward in their lives.

It helps a person to take their focus off of what they are moving away from - to stop "dragging around old baggage" - and instead move toward what they want, Moore said.

For example, instead of focusing on wanting to quit smoking, the person could say that they want to run 10 miles, breathe clean air and smell nice.

She noted that IPS is effective because it allows people to listen to others while learning about themselves and it can build relationships and communities. She also uses IPS with her children to better communicate with them.

Besides helping callers, the program also provides jobs, saves taxpayers money and, by providing alternative support, frees up crisis lines from those who are just lonely and want a listening ear.

The program also cuts down on emergency room visits and law enforcement involvement.

A number of the calls statewide have dealt with suicide prevention, said Moore.

CCS statistics indicate that 80 percent of the total callers felt the Warmline was helpful.

"We all have times of challenge," she said. "Sometimes we feel lonely or feel so happy about something with nobody to call and tell our great news to. That's what the Warmline is all about, humans connecting to humans."

The Warmline hours are: Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, noon to 10 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The program is named after the mental health activist who started Oregon's Warmline in November of 2007.

 

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