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FALL 2020

FIRSTLINK CARE AND SUPPORT SERVICES FirstLink is your 24-hour connection to support and information about thousands of community resources and suicide prevention education, but we are not your run-of-themill helpline. Our Care and Support Program provides outgoing support calls and texts to people at risk of suicide or struggling with substance misuse. This program supports the physical and emotional safety of individuals who are at risk for suicide and assists individuals with finding substance use treatment or recovery support services. We have made 8,615 contacts to participants so far this year! The Care and Support Program offers ongoing support, crisis intervention, empowers individuals to advocate for their behavioral health needs and reduces service gaps by promoting

continuity of care. This program collaborates with clinics, hospitals, and behavioral health providers. Whether a person is actively involved with a treatment program or not sure where to begin to get help, FirstLink is here to provide support and appropriate referral to services. Our dedicated team of call specialists is available 24/7 to offer listening and support, and resources to you, your loved ones, or patients. If you have any questions about our care and support services, feel free to call us at (701) 235-7335 or simply dial 2-1-1 to get connected to help and hope

RESOURCE FirstLink has been busier than ever during the pandemic we have all been facing. In August, we had a record 7,076 contacts, up from around 5,000 in July. In September

WE’VE MADE

8,615 CALLS

we had another busy month with 6,735 contacts. That brings us to a current total of 50,106 contacts so far in 2020. By comparison, our year end total for 2019 was 60,148—a record we are on track to break!


A LETTER FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CINDY MILLER

Well, I must admit it was an interesting year…It wasn’t exactly the way I had planned to celebrate FirstLink’s 50th anniversary. But I know it is one we will never forget. As we talk about forgetting, I want to remind everyone to check in with their friends, family, and co-workers regularly. Many people are struggling and are having difficulty asking for help. Remember FirstLink is here 24/7 and we would love to give you help with resources, listening and support and HOPE! Please call or text! I also want to thank everyone for their support in 2020. We have been here 24/7 throughout COVID-19 and our call/ text numbers have risen considerably. But we couldn’t continue this service without your support- so, thank you.

and reminders to help hundreds of nonprofits in February. It is such an uplifting event in our community. I think we could all use a little boost. Like you, I am looking forward to 2021. I have learned a lot about myself during this past year. I’ve always tried to look at the positive, and I positively know that FirstLink will continue to be here for the next 50 years. Because of you!

Thankfully,

Cindy Miller FirstLink’s Executive Director

Giving Hearts Day will be here soon. Please watch for our posts, newsletter

GIVING TREE OF HOPE EVENT UPDATE FOR 2020 Because of the uncertainties of COVID-19 in our future, and the magnitude of the event manned by hundreds of volunteers, FirstLink will not be holding a gift giving distribution this year.   BUT, we realize that people may need extra financial support/gifts this year.  So, we are encouraging everyone to talk to your neighbors, friends, family, businesses, and churches,  to work together to donate/collect gifts.  Then the group can decide on a local nonprofit, social service agency, school or church to designate as the recipient of the gifts they collect.  These groups can then distribute according to need.    Together we can make a difference in 2020, safely and still share the magic of the season with those who need extra help and support.  For other financial resources, or for listening and support remind others they can dial 211 or 701235-7335 or text their zip code to 898-211 twenty four hours a day. 


TRAINING & EDUCATION Join the fight against suicide and mental health stigma! Virtual trainings by FirstLink are looking to continue to #stompoutstigma of mental health in our communities. A recent Harris Poll stated that 81% of adults say it is now more important than ever to make suicide prevention a national priority. Additionally, 25% of people ages 18 to 24 had seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days. FirstLink increases accessibility to suicide awareness and mental health awareness through virtual trainings. Join the fight to end the stigma against mental health concerns with FirstLink at myfirstlink.org. We continue to expand our virtual training platform. This year (2020) started with strong training numbers and goals; we found that becoming flexible in this pandemic environment allowed us to reach a broader audience. We continue to work to expand our reach outside of the Fargo-Moorhead area into our more rural/ underserved populations through virtual trainings. Our goal is to help those in the community struggling with mental health or financial strain to reach out for support. We continue to offer trainings to students, teachers, businesspeople, moms, dads, city government, professors‌. the list

goes on. Our goal is to have community services at your fingertips. Looking forward to the coming year, FirstLink will continue to expand our training and education program. We are looking to partner with local businesses and organizations to join them in their internal advocacy for mental health awareness. Please reach out to rileyb@myfirstlink.org to have him join forces with you and your employees to #stompoutstigma. FirstLink is a non-profit agency that answers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Our service area is the entire state of North Dakota and parts of Minnesota. Call us for help and hope; we will link you to resources and be a friendly voice. You can reach us through the Suicide Lifeline by dialing (800) 273-8255 or through our 24 hour helpline by dialing 2-1-1 (701-235-7335) or texting your zip code to 898-211.

WHY I SERVE I first learned about FirstLink by volunteering with The Junior League of Fargo Moorhead. I have always been passionate about volunteering and being involved in our community, especially by helping others. Everything FirstLink provides, from the 24/7 suicide hotline to providing education in the schools, is so critical in our community and have been for 50 years. I am so thankful we have FirstLink and their resources here in the Fargo-Moorhead area. I am honored to serve on the Board at FirstLink and I am excited to see what they can achieve in the next 50 years.

HOLLIE MCLEAN

HOSTED BY

HOSTED BY

Missed out on our virtual Lifesaver Luncheon? It’s not too late to watch--the video is on our website:

https://myfirstlink.org/

Want to help celebrate our 50th anniversary by donating $50? Everyone who donates will get our commemorative ornament!


P.O. Box 447 Fargo, ND 58107-0447

SUCCESS STORIES She said that the 211 Helpline is supportive of her. She feels everyone deserves to be heard in an empathetic, supportive way.

Contact called to thank us for our help. He said our service was “lifechanging.

Thank you so much for what you do. You help a lot of people.

MEET TAFFENY Hi, my name is Taffeny. I started working for FirstLink this past summer. I am a part of the Care and Support team working with recently discharged patients from hospitals around the area to help with their transition back home. I am excited to be here and look forward to wherever this journey leads me.

A youth contact talked about feelings of loneliness and depression. They spoke about only getting to go to school two days a week and about how difficult it is to be home alone all day. “It is great to have someone to talk to when my days are long.

Profile for Tellwell

FirstLink Fall 2020 Newsletter  

FirstLink Fall 2020 Newsletter  

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