Mental health phone line returns to the Ozarks, partnership between NAMI and OACAC

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

Published: Apr. 11, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Warm Line is returning to southwest Missouri after losing its state funding in July.

A partnership between the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation is bringing the mental health resource back to the community.

NAMI’s Warm Line director Jess Pratt says the warm line is a peer-operated phone line to provide support for people living with mental illness.

”Your family can be there for you and they tell you they understand but if you haven’t lived through it, you truly don’t,” Pratt says.

The Warm Line number is (417) 864-3676 or toll free (877) 535-4357.

Pratt says it’s answered by people who truly understand what it means to struggle with a mental illness.

“You don’t necessarily know the words to tell somebody how you feel and when there’s somebody on the other line that has went through it and they’re living it and they’ve recovered from it, it’s nice to know that there’s that person on the other line that’s truly listening and truly gets what you’re saying,” Pratt says.

The line was discontinued in July after NAMI lost state funding.

“It was truly crushing for us because we knew the people we had already had that relationship with that were struggling and we knew there were just going to be more,” Pratt says.

OACAC stepped in and is providing CARES Act funding to allow the resource to open back up. OACAC’s resource development manager, Lindsey Dumas-Bell says the 10 counties it serves showed a need for more mental health resources in the 2020 community needs assessment.

“The counties that we served showed a need for mental health supports, increased mental health supports,” Dumas-Bell says.

The Warm Line is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and all phone calls are confidential.

“We do ask for the caller to give us their name just so we can relate to them while we’re talking with them and we also give them our name,” Pratt says. “No personal information at all is exchanged.”

Pratt says more volunteers are needed, especially for weekend and night shifts.

Those interested in volunteering should call (417) 864-3027.

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