CONTACT: Helpline is open during the holidays

CONTACT: Helpline is open during the holidays


The holiday season is well underway—and the reality for many isn’t so exciting. For 30 years, CONTACT of Rockford’s Helpline (815) 636-5000 has always been available—24 hours a day—for those feeling troubled.

The current economic and social situations in Rockford leave a large number of folks with less this year—causing anxiety and hardship. They may need someone to listen, someone who cares—to express feelings of grief, depression, sadness or during times of crisis, loneliness, desperation, confusion and even joy.

CONTACT Executive Director Patricia Halverson noted that there has been some lag in getting information to the public. “We have services that are basically listening services and supportive services,” she told The Rock River Times. “It’s a continuous listening service. They let people talk about their problems. They identify their feelings and put people in touch with their feelings. It’s a caring community in a world that may not always seem friendly. In times of crisis when people are losing hope, they are depressed, they need help with paying the rent, they don’t have any Christmas gifts for their kids. The majority of people are between 18 and 35.

“The second highest number of calls is about children. We have an Info Line; there are also groups that we can give referrals to. Every call is strictly confidential; we have translation services for non-English-speaking individuals, primarily Hispanic. We also have TDD services for the deaf. We primarily cover three counties—Boone, Winnebago and Ogle—but people also call from outside [that area]. We are open 24/7, every day of the week, 24 hours a day. Our trainers take intensive 60-hour training courses. We are the hub for anybody needing help in social services, mental health areas, and we have a lot of support from the community. We are supported by United Way, and we are on a grant from the city of Rockford for InfoLine.”

CONTACT is a member of CONTACT USA, LifeLine International, and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems. It is accredited by CONTACT USA. As a not-for-profit agency, CONTACT is supported by individuals, volunteers, churches, corporations, foundations, community groups, local units of government and United Way. CONTACT staff and volunteers work from a computerized database of more than 1,000 human service programs and support groups in the region. Every call is free and confidential.

There is a special need for volunteers right now. If you would like to help, call CONTACT at 636-5001.

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