Crime Watch

Nonprofit helps callers find help with a variety of problems

 

Special to The Miami Herald

As in the past, I always like to inform readers about some of the great programs we have in our community. Therefore I asked Trudy Krasovic and Lana Curzon from Switchboard of Miami to give us information on the services they provide.

Here’s what they had to say:

Whether it’s a single mom seeking food to feed her children, or an individual seeking immediate emergency mental-health counseling, there’s an easy way for people to get help anytime in English, Spanish or Creole … even on holidays. The solution is simple: dial 2-1-1.

Switchboard receives calls 24/7 and maintains the most comprehensive social-service database in Miami-Dade County, which contains information about more than 5,000 programs.

Last year alone, the nonprofit organization provided more than 152,000 referrals to social service programs. People called for help with basic needs, like utility assistance, emergency help, or to find the closest food bank. But they also called for everyday information, to find out where to take their child for developmental screening, or how to locate job training or to find free tax filing support.

Switchboard answers more than 12 specialty lines in its Contact Center, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK), Youth Gang Prevention Hotline (305-631-GANG), LGBTQ Helpline (305-646-3600) and National Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-TALK, Press 1). The organization is also available 24/7 via text message or for live internet chat. (Text #: 741741) (Lifeline Chat site: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx)

Switchboard of Miami is a private, nonprofit organization that provides the community with comprehensive telephone crisis counseling, suicide prevention trainings and information and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The agency also offers low-cost individual and family counseling services, free developmental screenings for children and prevention programs for high-risk youth and their families based in local schools.

With a renewed emphasis on suicide prevention, Switchboard helped to launch the Miami-Dade Suicide Prevention Coalition, which aims to increase community involvement and raise awareness about suicide.

Most recently, Switchboard merged with Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami Inc., which provides an array of specialized mental health services for families. Clients range from infants, children and adolescents, to adults and caregivers. The organization offers individual, group and/or family therapy, children’s case management services, outreach education as well as psychological testing and evaluation.

The organization also has a telephone reassurance program (305-646-3606) for seniors to prevent loneliness, in which seniors are called once a week for simple check ins, friendly conversation or advocacy. Switchboard also acquired Helpline of the Florida Keys recently, which offers a confidential hotline and telephone reassurance services for residents in Monroe County.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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