On Friday, February 11th, United Ways across Massachusetts joined United Ways throughout the US as they celebrate National 2-1-1 Day, calling attention to this free comprehensive Information & Referral Service. 2-1-1 has been in operation in Massachusetts since 2006 in partnership with United Ways of Massachusetts and State Government.
Mass2-1-1, is the state’s free telephone hotline, that connects callers with local health and human services in their area and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with translation services in more than 150 languages.
Eileen Davis, Vice President of Mass211 recognized her staff for their mission of service and thank the Mass2-1-1 leadership. Davis also used the day to remind residents that no matter where you live in the Commonwealth, Mass 211 is the most accurate source of health and human services information.
Mass211 is also called upon in times of emergency similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in March of 2020, then Governor Charlie Baker activated Mass211 as the official number to call for the most accurate and up-to-date information on the pandemic, and call takers answered more than one million pandemic related calls.
Call2Talk, the Mass2-1-1 mental health, emotional support and suicide prevention line, answers calls through the Mass2-1-1 statewide platform as well as answering calls from 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Highly trained volunteer call-takers answer calls and provide confidential and often lifesaving support to people experiencing emotional distress or potential suicidal ideation and have nowhere else to turn. Call2Talk also works in partnership with Crisis Text Line to provide support by text for those uncomfortable with speaking to a call taker. Anyone needing emotional support can be connected to a Call2Talk volunteer by dialing 2-1-1 from any phone in Massachusetts.
Speakers included Mass211 Executive Director Paul Mina and Vice President of Mass211 Eileen Davis, Everett L. Handford, Regional Director, U.S. Dept. of HHS, Taylor Bryan Turner from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as two Information and Referral Specialists from Mass211, and call-taker from Mass211’s Call2Talk suicide prevention program and Postvention Manager to speak about the newest service available to their postvention program. A brief tour of the call center followed the program.
Several partners across the Commonwealth attended including Mary O’Coin, Executive Director from the United Way of South Central MA, Ryan Brinkey, Public Affairs Specialist HHS Region 1, Tom Bernard, President and CEO, and Katherine Von Haefen, Director of Community Impact, both from Berkshire United Way, Kelly Cunningham, Director Division of Violence and Injury Prevention MA Department of Public Health, Danielle Bolduc Acting Director Suicide Prevention MA Department of Public Health, Susan Nicholl District and Special Project Director for Senate President Karen Spilka, Leora Mallach, Framingham City Council Member, and several others, all to celebrate and recognize the Mass211 staff for their effort answering hundreds of thousands of calls each year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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