24-7 Hopeline needs funds to continue suicide awareness/prevention mission

Local News

As the conversation around mental health continues, a local suicide prevention center is struggling to get much needed funding to support its clients.

Funding for the Hopeline Bill 938 passed an assembly hearing, but failed to make it to the Senate.

A baseball jacket reminds Mike Hopfensperger of his son Shane.

“He loved sports and he enjoyed them and he was always happy go lucky, win or lose he was always there.”

Shane was 25 years old when he committed suicide.

Mike and his wife met other families who lost a loved due to suicide through the Center for Suicide Awareness in Kaukauna.

The center created its Hopeline a few years ago.

The 24-7 phone line allows anyone to text or call if they need someone to talk to.

“The reality of mental health care it’s not always readily available,” says Lynn Stinski. “In fact, often times you struggle to get it, would you need to be seen or heard and that’s the beauty of Hopeline, we are that resource.”

But that resource is not getting enough money.

The Hopeline bill would have provided a little more than $137,000 for a two year period, an amount that was originally lowered from $220,000.

“We recognized the fact that very quickly after Hopeline started to get going that it was going to blow away all our projections on the use by Wisconsin residents.”

Now these families are sharing their stories and pleading with law makers to take a closer look at the issue.

“When you really look at the Hopeline it is such an efficient and inexpensive way to assist people. Our teenagers, our young people and older adults text today,” says Bonnie Coonen, who lost her nephew Mark to suicide.

There’s still hope for the Hopeline bill if a special senate session is held, if not the process for funding will have to start over again.

But for Stinski this issue is a no brainer.

“This isn’t a democratic or republican issue mental health and suicide plays no favorites, this is a human issue.”

To find resources for you or a loved one that has considered suicide visit the Center for Suicide Awareness website: http://www.centerforsuicideawareness.org/ or text “Hopeline” to 741741.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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