National Peer Support Warmline Council

This group is organized and facilitated through networking and inclusion of diverse peer supporters who are working on, developing, and supervising peer warmlines across the nation.

Peer Specialists currently operating, seeking to work on, looking to develop, or simply curious to learn more about peer-supported warmline employment are encouraged to join NPSWC online groups. Each session focuses on working in wellness, networking support, current events in warm line services, and addressing system priorities as defined by the group members.

This group meets online every two weeks with the support of Doors to Wellbeing, a SAMHSA funded National Consumer Technical Assistance Center of the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery.

The National Peer Support Warmline Council's (NPSWC) mission is to provide national support and networking to advance the benefits, values, and diverse access of peer-supported, peer-operated, and peer-led warmline services.

Washington Listens Supportline: A Pacific Northwest Response to COVID
By: Laurel Lemke

Washington Listens (WA Listens) is a time limited Washington Healthcare Authority project funded by a Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The program goals are:

  • Support Washington through the COVID-19 outbreak

  • Build resilience in Washington to improve recovery from the disaster

  • Be there for those who need support

The support line, which opened in June 2020, is the backbone of the program. Phone support specialists represent teams from several partner organizations and tribes statewide. Crisis Connections is the contractor facilitating the phone line: offering technical knowledge, equipment, and dedicated staff. Crisis Connections oversees several other phone line programs (including a Warmline) that serve emotional and physical needs of individuals in Washington State.

Phone operators were initially prepared for their roles through online training provided by FEMA Crisis Counseling and Assistance Training. The COVID disaster prompted different operating approaches. Instead of responder pairs going into the community to contact persons impacted by a disaster, WA Listens outreach was conducted through public service announcements, emails, attending online meetings, and leaving cards at businesses. A Facebook page was created to share information, encouragement, and resources. Operators answer phone calls from 9 to 9 weekdays and from 9 to 6 on weekends. Most callers want to be heard and to have conversations, operators may share resources and have the capacity to transfer persons experiencing crisis to the Crisis Line. 

The WA Listens program was designed to support persons who feel sad, anxious, or stressed due to the events related to the COVID outbreak. The program has also served persons impacted by wildfires, floods, weather extremes, and other stressful occurrences. Initially funded for a year, the program has been granted an unprecedented three extensions as the impact of COVID continues. At the time of writing the program has submitted a fourth program extension through June 2022.

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To view a Peer Warmline Database, click here.