Massachusetts - Every year on February 11, United Ways in Massachusetts and across the country celebrate 2-1-1 Day to raise awareness of this important public service. Everyone knows the three-digit number to call in an emergency, but some Bay Staters may not be aware of the simple number they can dial for health and human service assistance.
Mass2-1-1 provides telephone and web information and referral service for residents of the Commonwealth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Trained 2-1-1 Information and Referral Specialists connect callers to thousands of human service organizations. This includes providers for food programs, housing and emergency shelter, elder care, physical and mental health services, childcare resources, drug and alcohol services, utility assistance, victim services, and at times, is activated when needed for emergencies and disasters.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mass2-1-1 Day celebration will be held virtually on Thursday, February 11 at 2:11 pm. The public is invited to attend and can do so by clicking the following link to attend virtually.
http://bit.ly/211dayma Meeting ID: 972 0171 7774 Passcode: 257168
Several notable attendees and long-time supporters of Mass2-1-1 will be in attendance, including Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Springfield College President Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, also from Springfield College from the Department of Graduate Social Work, Laura Mackie, Director of Field Education, Lauren Hiller, LICSW, Mass2-1-1 Executive Director Paul Mina, Mass2-1-1 Vice President and Director of Call2Talk, Eileen Davis, as well as Mass2-1-1 Board members and Call2Talk volunteer call-takers. A special video submission will be shared with attendees from Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who will proclaim February 11, 2021 as 2-1-1 Day across the commonwealth.
“Dialing 2-1-1 from a landline or cell phone provides residents of Massachusetts with free, confidential, referral services and is easy to use,” said Eileen Davis, Vice President of Mass2-1-1, and Director of Call2Talk. “Mass2-1-1 is available in all 14 counties across the state and offers translation in over 150 languages. This is a critical service every day, but moreso now while the pandemic continues to impact every aspect of our daily lives.”
Paul Mina, Mass2-1-1 Executive Director adds, “Our Mass2-1-1 team, in partnership with staff from the Department of Public Health, have done an outstanding job answering calls non-stop since the Governor activated Mass2-1-1 to answer COVID-19 calls last March. More than 200,000 COVID-19 calls have been answered from across Massachusetts since that time, while close to a thousand calls continue to come in daily. When people need up-to-date, accurate information, they can count on, Mass2-1-1 to be there.”
Call2Talk, the mental health helpline of Mass2-1-1, also has much to celebrate with the grand opening of their new call center, located within the United Way of Pioneer Valley offices in Springfield. The office, which began taking calls in mid-September, is open to assist residents within the 413-area code. Highly trained volunteer call takers help callers move from a place of emotional crisis to a calmer state by providing non-judgmental listening, comfort, and encouragement. Mayor Sarno and Springfield College President, Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, will join the United Way and Mass2-1-1 leadership to cut the ribbon as they officially launch their new call center. Anyone wishing to connect with the local Call2Talk office in Springfield can dial (413) 505-5111.
“The new Call2Talk call center will better serve the local community and expand capacity by providing resources, 24/7, for those going through troubling times,” said Davis of Mass2-1-1.
Call2Talk answers calls through the Mass2-1-1 statewide platform as well as answering calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Highly trained volunteer call-takers answer calls and provide confidential and often times 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 call Call2Talk directly at (413) 505-5111
To learn more about the United Way of South Central MA, Mass2-1-1, or Call2Talk, please visit their website and UWSCM.org or Mass211.org .
Mass2-1-1 Inc. is a subsidiary organization of the United Ways in Massachusetts charged with providing the citizens of the Commonwealth with correct, timely and accurate information the first time they are called or searched. Mass2-1-1 was created and is staffed by the United Way. This 24/7/365 service was created as a resource to connect callers to information about critical health and human services programs.