The Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties will shut down on November 30, 2020 after 44 years of helping countless residents address physical, safety, and health needs. However, Will and Grundy County families will still be able to get the support they need during the upcoming holiday season and ongoing pandemic, and beyond.
Those seeking social service assistance and information and referral to community-based services, can still visit willfinduhelp.org for community resources. As well, anyone needing 24/7 emotional and mental health support, and/or suicide prevention and intervention, should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Meanwhile, the community is coming together to aid in the transition. The United Way of Will County will lead a coordinated initiative to establish a locally curated social services and information network, commonly referred to as “2-1-1.” United Way Partners and community-based service providers are committing support and assistance to fill the void
left by Crisis Line.
Crisis Line decided to close its doors after years of financial hardship, declining revenues and
resources, and resulting logistical challenges.
“We were very sad to make this decision,” said Crisis Line Executive Director Michele Batara.
“Unfortunately, we cannot continue to operate with the resources we have available now,” she said.
United Way Interim CEO and President Sarah Oprzedek praised Crisis Line for its work over more than four decades.
“Over the years many thousands of people called Crisis Line during their darkest moments of need and their team did tremendous work to support those individuals and families, and our whole community,” Oprzedek said.
“It is impossible to quantify the amount of good that the Crisis Line did for our community,” she said. “We cannot thank them enough.”
Sadly, Oprzedek said, those needs continue and are even more challenging now. That is why United Way is leading the work to expand, modernize, and strengthen the kinds of services Crisis Line has provided through an integrated “2-1-1” network.
That work has just started. United Way staff have identified both short and long-term benchmarks. The implementation for the integrated, cross-sector vision could take 12-18 months, Oprzedek said.
United Way staff have already started conversations with several county governmental and support service leaders about partnering in a new “2-1-1” system. They are also researching and talking to leaders of other regional and large municipal “2-1-1” systems.
“As a community-wide leader and resource, United Way is uniquely positioned to help create a new and improved support system to support our families, friends, and neighbors in their time of need,” Oprzedek said.