Need help? Call crisis line
***As of Aug. 30, 2019, the UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline is is no longer operational. For avaialble crisis resource, click here.
When the word “crisis” is used, our minds often jump to disastrous scenarios like earthquakes, existential breakdowns, or situations in which our safety is being threatened.
The UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline, however, wants students to know that they are here to support them during more than just catastrophic anomalies.
“Sometimes people just need some support — somebody to talk to,” said Luis Salas, coordinator of the UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline and case manager at the UIC Counseling Center.
“We’re not just a crisis hotline. We also provide basic counseling over the phone, or a supportive ear over the phone. If you have a break-up and want to speak to somebody about it, if you’re overwhelmed with classes, or feeling lonely, or anything else you’re experiencing.”
The UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline was established in 1975 with the mission to provide free, over-the-phone crisis intervention. They have expanded their services to offer confidential counseling over the phone, handling a wide range of topics, including stress, depression, LGBT issues, anxiety, family concerns, trouble picking a major, and much more.
The InTouch Crisis Hotline is staffed by volunteers who complete a training program in general counseling.
“In order to volunteer, you have to go through a class, you get taught how to provide basic counseling skills, how to assess for suicide, how to talk to somebody who has gone through a traumatic experience,” Salas said.
The UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline is linked with the UIC student organization Friends in Touch. Cynthia Roebuck, a senior studying psychology, is the organization’s vice president.
Roebuck simply wants the campus community to know that the service is available.
“It’s not a sign of weakness to call,” she said. “It’s actually a sign of strength. There’s so much stigma about mental health — I’d love to see that changed.”
She draws a powerful comparison, contrasting how we deal with mental health versus physical health.
“I’d love for the brain to be viewed as an organ,” she said. “If we have a tooth problem we go to a dentist. If we have a heart problem we got to a cardiologist. If we have something in our mind why can’t we look at it like a cold and go talk to someone about it? That’s a sign of strength.”
This year alone, the UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline has received more than 800 calls from the campus community and others around the country, ranging from Oregon to Texas.
The UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline is available from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday at (312) 996-5535.