Today marks the beginning of an exciting partnership between Lines for Life and ProtoCall Services; two Portland, Oregon-based call centers focused on delivering high quality access to behavioral health crisis and access services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The agreement between Lines for Life, an Oregon based non-profit, and ProtoCall Services, a privately-held Oregon corporation with call centers in Oregon, Michigan, and New Mexico, allows for sharing call center space in ProtoCall’s Portland location, and extends ProtoCall’s sophisticated, high-availability, redundant IT and telephony infrastructure to Lines For Life’s own nearby call center.
“It was a partnership born out of necessity, but made possible by a common history, mission, and friendship between our two organizations,” said David Westbrook, Lines for Life’s Chief Operating Officer. The necessity arose out of Lines for Life’s challenges with its existing telephone vendor. Making this more urgent was its recent award of the Veteran’s Crisis Line back up-contract.
“Few issues are more nerve wracking than having your technology fail. But when you’re operating a crisis center, it’s a horrible situation,” says Phil Evans, ProtoCall’s CEO, whose seen his fair share of similar problems. “But over the last 20 years, we’ve been able to develop a very reliable infrastructure, so when we heard about Lines for Life’s challenges, it only made sense to think about extending our technology to them,” added Evans.
Technology wasn’t the only need. Lines for Life’s physical location wasn’t going to be large enough, at least not at the start, to accommodate the more than doubling of their staff required to launch the Veteran’s Crisis Line (VCL) back-up call center. “I remembered hearing about how ProtoCall launched their New Mexico call center in just 10 weeks,” Westbrook recalled, “which is just about exactly the amount of time we had to get up and running with the VCL.”
“It turns out,” said Evans, “that between ProtoCall’s three call centers and the expansion of our work-at-home opportunities, our Portland call center was rarely reaching 50% capacity. So we actually had space to share and since we were already making plans to extend our technology, it made tremendous sense to co-locate the extra staff while Lines for Life resolves its expansion plans.”
The two organizations have entered into a short-term, 6-month, co-location agreement addressing a variety of security, physical space, and employment related issues. It has also entered into a long-term Technology Agreement that provides Lines For Life with the same features and benefits of ProtoCall’s communications platforms.
“We hope this becomes a blueprint for how other public/private partnerships can help organizations and their missions thrive” said Evans, “but for now, it’s just an incredible honor lend some of our tools and infrastructure to the incredibly important mission of supporting our veterans. What Lines for Life has been able to accomplish to get this program up and running is truly inspiring and we are all very excited.”
If you, or a Veteran loved one are in crisis, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1,
or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255 to get confidential support
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
About Lines For Life
Lines for Life is a regional non-profit dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide, offering help and hope to individuals and communities, and promoting mental health for all. Its work addresses a spectrum of needs that include intervention, prevention, and advocacy. Its focus is the prevention of substance abuse, mental illness, and thoughts of suicide from reaching crisis levels, but when a crisis arises or support is needed, Lines for Life is available 24/7/365 to intervene with personalized help. www.linesforlife.org
About ProtoCall Services
ProtoCall was founded in 1992 as a division of Metro Crisis Intervention Services, a non-profit agency providing crisis line services in Portland, Oregon. Since separating from its non-profit parent, ProtoCall has become the nation’s leading provider for specialty telephonic behavioral health services. Today, ProtoCall serves callers to over 300 behavioral health organizations and provides access to Masters and Doctoral-level counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; because every time the phone rings, it could be the most important call someone has ever made. www.protocallservices.com