In today’s podcast episode, host Carole Dorn-Bell speaks with Sue Hanson of HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties. HelpLine updates and maintains the resource directory to link people with available services in five Ohio counties. The two discuss seeking out and using community resources and the depth of what HelpLine offers. With the holidays approaching, it’s especially important to be armed with the right tools to cope with stress.

“On one hand, there’s the anticipation and a lot of positive things about the holidays, but we don’t always think about how there’s a lot of stress around the holidays,” Hanson says.

The holidays are an especially important time to understand the process of seeking out and using community resources to help deal with stress.

HelpLine’s job is to help people with life’s difficulties and struggles by connecting people with community resources. HelpLine assists people to work through stress and other issues that may be affecting their lives.

“We are in the business of connecting people to the knowledge and support and resources that will help them as they move through some of life’s challenges,” Hanson says.

HelpLine is a 24/7 service which includes an always-available telephone support line as well as the ability to text for help at any time of day.

“We focus very much on issues surrounding suicide prevention, response to victims of sexual assault, and we want to make sure that people have the resources and tools to cope with the difficulties and traumas that they may come in contact with throughout their lives,” Hanson says.

The service is available to both adults and children, and HelpLine focuses on helping people of all ages.

Dorn-Bell asks why someone may contact HelpLine, and Hanson explains that people contact them for a myriad of reasons.

“We probably address close to 15,000 needs every year,” Hanson says. “Those can be anything from stress management to concern about a child being abused to someone experiencing domestic violence to someone who is homeless.”

The two primary areas that HelpLine focuses on are mental health and addiction as well as people who are struggling with money.

Hanson says they try to break through some of the stigma attached with seeking out and using community resources.

Around the holidays, Hanson says that people tend to be more stressed about financial issues as well as family dynamics. Also, some people are struggling to even have a Christmas, and HelpLine can help lead them to community resources that can help connect them with toys, food and more.

“What suggestions do you have for people as they’re about to face the holidays, or any other stressful times?” Dorn-Bell asks.

“One of the biggest things we say, is that you don’t have to go through whatever you’re struggling with alone,” Hanson says. “We really encourage folks to reach out.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to call HelpLine, but it’s important for people to connect with friends, family members or someone with whom they can share their struggles.

She says that even a quick walk or listening to music can be the mental health break that someone needs to cope with stress.

Dorn-Bell says she sees the ability to reach out for help as a sign of strength, and she wonders if HelpLine is a unique offering in Ohio.

“There is a network of crisis and support lines across the country,” Hanson says. She says that most areas in Ohio have some sort of community resource.

“The problem is that people don’t know that the resource is available to the community, and that’s just the challenge of getting the word out,” Hanson says.

Dorn-Bell says that after she met Hanson, the first thing she did was to put HelpLine’s number into every cell phone in her family.

“You just don’t know when you’ll be caught in that moment,” Dorn-Bell says.

“No one is immune to crises and issues in our lives,” Hanson says. “We all experience these things in our lives.”

For those outside of the area, you can still contact HelpLine, and they’ll link you to your local resources.

“We don’t want anyone to be in a situation where they don’t have anywhere to turn,” Hanson says.

If you need help or have questions about seeking out and using community resources, visit HelpLine or call or text the HelpLine Crisis Hotline at 740.369.3316 or 419.947.2520 or 1.800.684.2324.

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