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Calls To Tampa Bay's 211 Center Are Increasing During The Holiday Season

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Daylina Miller
/
WUSF Public Media

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay operates a 2-1-1 emergency call center and connects people to mental health resources. We first talked to them in April and we're checking back in.

This week on Florida Matters, we check in with The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

The Center operates a 2-1-1 emergency call center and connects people to mental health resources. And its CEO, Clara Reynolds, says she has seen the effects of 2020 on the community first-hand.

Florida Matters first talked to her in April. And with the holiday season here, host Bradley George and Reynolds decided it was a time to touch base again.

Reynolds said call volumes increased dramatically in early November. The election was a big contributor to that, she said, citing the topics of the received calls.

"The first week and second week in November, we saw some significantly high numbers, particularly for suicide calls," Reynolds said.

But she said that although the numbers are already higher than normal, the Crisis Center is expecting a lot more calls once December ends.

January is particularly hard for people "when the holidays haven't turned out the way you thought they would, when the bills start coming in, that you don't know how you're going to pay for," Reynolds said.

At the same time, Reynolds said the center can't always connect all callers to an "interventional specialist" immediately. They're finding it difficult to keep up with the high call volumes.

"If you call in and you're hitting a busy time, you can leave your phone number and that will keep your place in line and the system will call you back when the next intervention specialist is ready," Reynolds said.

You can listen to the rest of the conversation above.

Dinorah Prevost is the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.
Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by PRNDI, the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.