Here to help: County mental health call center provides support for residents coping with traumatic events

December 19, 2012

The recent shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. have left many of us shaken and grief stricken. Traumatic events such as these can affect us deeply, even if we weren't directly harmed. It can be hard to know how to deal with the feelings that come up. It can be even harder to help our children deal with the trauma.

Help is available at Multnomah County.

"We are here 24/7 to help people in crisis in our community,’’ says David Hidalgo, Multnomah County mental health and addiction services manager. “ This is a challenging time for many of us, but help is available.''

In addition to the support we may need coping with trauma,  we may also worry that someone we love may be at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Talking about suicide, death, or dying.
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Reckless or risky behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends and family or social activities
  • Talking about feeling hopeless
  • Appearing angry or irritated
  • Talking about wanting revenge
  • Changes in sleeping patterns

If you, or someone you love, needs to talk to someone immediately or find resources, call our mental health call center at 503-988-4888 or toll free 1-800-716-9769. Mental health professionals are answering each call. If you want to call on behalf of a friend or relative, we can help.

“The crisis system is here to help people at any age: adults, children, older adults regardless of ability to pay,” says Hidalgo.

You can also go to the Urgent Walk-in Clinic at 2415 S.E. 43rd Ave. in Portland, OR. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

Additional helpful resources for adults and children

Coping with a Traumatic Event - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Resources for Dealing with Traumatic Events in Schools- University of Maryland
Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster: A guide for parents and teachers –  
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Parenting in a Challenging World – (tips on parenting after a traumatic event with film clips) The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.