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HBO Documentary “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” now airing on HBO

Veteran's Helplines

On Veterans Day, HBO began airing the original documentary “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.” The documentary highlights the work of the call center in Canadaigua, NY that answers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone line operated specifically for veterans at risk of suicide. The documentary features harrowing footage of crisis responders working to find anonymous callers in imminent danger, and the quiet and touching moments between the empathetic workers who listen without judgment and the veterans reaching out for help. Check your local listings, this documentary is not to be missed. Visit the HBO website for more information and to check the airtimes.

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iCarol helps MHA of New York City’s helpline withstand the “test of hurricane Sandy”

Recently a client (Mental Health Association of New York City) using iCarol through the worst of Hurricane Sandy in Manhattan shared these kind words about how it helped them work through the disaster: “I wanted to let you know that iCarol was one of the few systems we use that stood the test of hurricane Sandy and for that we are very grateful. Chat was especially important because it was the only service we provide that continued without interruption and allowed us to respond to people in crisis. Our building transformer blew up causing us to lose power which had a huge impact on our phone and routing systems but iCarol stood and thanks to iCarol we were able to work remotely.” –Gloria J., Senior Counselor
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Disaster preparedness in iCarol

With Hurricane Sandy approaching the Northeastern United States today, we’d like to remind folks of various ways to use iCarol before, during, and after a disaster:

  • Quickly add more staff and volunteers into your iCarol system using the import template and tool, found on the Admin Tools – Setup tab.
  • Use the shift calendar to help manage people’s duties during the disaster, even for non-phone based tasks and responsibilities.
  • Modify the security settings of those people so they can only access the information they need to. Do this by going into each person’s profile, Admin tab, then Advanced Security Settings. (Once you’ve set up settings for one person, you can save them so it is easier to apply the same settings to another person’s profile.)
  • Keep your highlighted resources (both inside iCarol and on your public-facing website) current and relevant.
  • Inside iCarol, you can also add “news items” to your main Resources page for your users, and have those updates push simultaneously to a public Twitter feed. This helps your workers stay updated on information and resources more quickly.
  • Import resources en masse into your iCarol system by using our standard, Excel-based template. (For example, schools may become temporary emergency shelters.)
  • Create special categories in your Resources for disaster-related preparedness and then assign resources to them accordingly, making it easier for them to be found.
  • If your policies allow it, prepare for some or all of your workers to access all iCarol features from locations other than your offices, like their homes, so they can continue to provide phone-based services even if they cannot get to your offices (and they still have power and internet access).
  • For past disasters (like Hurricane Isaac hitting Louisiana this summer) we have also rapidly granted special requests on a short term basis, like sharing resource databases amongst numerous partner centers. Feel free to ask us for such special capabilities so we can help you help your communities.
  • Our Specialized Resource Exports tool creates a Word or Excel document containing part or all of your Resource database, and can be used in case you want your users to have it on hand in case you lose connection to the internet. Contact us if you’d like to begin using this option add-on feature.

If you have any thoughts or ideas please post them to the iCarol User Community. We want to do our best to help you get through this challenging weather condition.

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