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Crisis Contact Centers and ZeroSuicide: Connecting Communities and Providers

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Crisis Contact Centers are playing an increasingly important role in our efforts to prevent suicide. They are 24/7, they often provide access by chat and text and many centers are now providing lifesaving follow-up services to callers. The model of crisis services has changed from triage, stabilize and handoff to one of ongoing support and care coordination. For many at risk of suicide, crisis contact centers may be the only help they receive or even want. Join us in learning more about Crisis Contact Centers and how they are making sure that our suicide prevention efforts don’t stop when the office closes.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Review the history of AAS's investment in crisis contact centers and discover the changing landscape of Crisis Contact Center Services.
  2. Learn about new models and platforms for delivering suicide prevention services.
  3. Explore advantages of crisis contact centers in diverting from emergency services.
  4. Gain greater understanding of engaging Crisis Contact Centers in your suicide prevention efforts.

Bart Andrews, PhD, is Vice President of Clinical Practice/Evaluation at Behavioral Health Response.  Dr. Andrews is the President of the National Association of Crisis Line Directors, Co-Chair of the Suicide Lifeline’s Standards, Training and Pracices committee, a member of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s (SPRC) Steering Committee and an SPRC ZeroSuicide Academy Faculty member. Dr. Andrews is a suicide attempt survivor and a proponent embracing of lived expertise in our suicide prevention efforts. Dr. Andrews believes that the path to suicide prevention must be framed in the context of relationships, community and culture.  Dr. Andrews was recognized as one of the top 21 mental health professionals of 2015 to follow on Twitter and can be found @bartandrews.

Dr. Andrews has over 20 years of experience providing behavioral health services. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.  He is actively involved in raising community awareness about the risk of suicide and training community members, law enforcement and other professionals in suicide assessment and intervention.  Dr. Andrews is also an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) Senior Training Coach. Through BHR, Dr. Andrews created the first suicide follow-up program in the State of Missouri, and BHR has expanded suicide follow-up care to youth and adults throughout the eastern region of Missouri.

Jennifer is the Director of the HelpLine at The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD Services in Houston, Texas.  The Harris Center HelpLine serves as the main contact center for The Harris Center which is the largest provider of behavioral health services in the State of Texas, and as the crisis line for 39 Texas counties. The Harris Center HelpLine partners with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide coverage for previously under-served Texas area codes.  Jennifer is a Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, ASK about Suicide to Save a Life, and SafeTalk Trainer and supervises the Community Training Department for The Harris Center.   In collaboration with the Houston Police Department and Houston Emergency Communications Center, Jennifer supervises the Crisis Call Diversion Program.  This team routes people calling in through law enforcement emergency services who have stated they have a mental health concern away from a law enforcement response and to a more appropriate level of care through local behavioral health options.

In addition to her work at The Harris Center, Jennifer serves as the Vice-President of the Board for the National Association of Crisis Organization Directors (NASCOD) and is the past Co-Chair and current member of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council.   She serves on the Steering Committee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  Jennifer is currently part of the Zero Suicide Texas (ZEST) Learning Collaborative, the Trauma Informed Practice Implementation Team for The Harris Center, and serves at the Suicide Prevention Officer for The Harris Center. 

Jennifer is a proud Social Worker and teaches as adjunct faculty at her alma mater the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  She also enjoys teaching Bachelor level social work classes at the University of Houston - Clear Lake and University of Houston – Downtown.  Jennifer is best reached via email at or on Twitter @Battle4Justice.

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