Johnson County Crisis Center's use increases

BY BEN MARKS | MARCH 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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Becci Reedus, executive director of the Johnson County Crisis Center, presented its annual update to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

“It’s been a remarkable year for us,” she said.

Among this year’s updates has been a significant increase in call volume to the center.

The center runs a 24-hour Crisis Line, as well as an online Crisis Chat service, and since last year, Reedus said, calls have increased 11 percent and chats have increased 40 percent.

In addition, she said, the center is doing 20,000 more assists than it was six years ago.

“Twenty thousand additional services over a six-year period of time really puts a significant strain on our financial resources and our ability to provide those services. Twenty thousand more visits … means more staff, more parking, more volunteers,” Reedus said.

More parking space is one of the main reasons the Crisis Center joined the 1105 Project last year, a collaboration among three human-service agencies.

The Crisis Center Food Bank has also received more than 4,000 new visitors this past year for a total of 50,879 in fiscal 2014.

Reedus said her best “guesstimate” on why the numbers have risen so much is that the Crisis Center has done a better job of promoting itself, and she said she doesn’t believe the upticks have to do with increased need in the community.

The center also received a record breaking 70 “suicide in progress” calls this year, a rise Reedus said followed the overall rise in calls they’ve received.

Additional center updates include the newly developed Mobile Crisis Center, the creation of the Johnson County Hunger Task Force, and the Crisis Center’s partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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