Crisis hotline in Cleveland gearing up for possible spike in calls

Posted at 3:10 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 15:10:18-05

A crisis hotline in Cleveland is seeing an uptick in calls from people in peril.

Many of them started reaching out for help after the Presidential election.

This has clearly been a stressful time for some in Northeast Ohio.

Over the weekend, a Vietnam veteran set himself on fire in Akron after witnesses say he delivered a rant about protests surrounding President-elect Donald Trump.

While that's an extreme case, there's worry the current charged climate, along with the holidays, could cause some people to crack.

The crisis counselors answering the phones at Frontline Service in Cleveland was extra busy in the hours following the election.

"We certainly have an increased number of calls from people who just feel isolated and marginalized and not included," said Jane Granzier, Crisis Services.

Out of more than two dozen calls to come in from people feeling despair that night, half of them were upset about Trump winning the White House.

"They can't talk to their family, so they reach out to the hotline here," said Rick Oliver, Crisis Services Director.

The hotline staff said what was so remarkable was who was on the other line.

"They were new callers, who were expressing distress," said Granzier.

Now, with a nation and families divided, those who run Frontline are preparing to possibly see similar demand in the days ahead as families sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We have had an increase in people, and people have definitely been noting, the anticipated angst and stress," added Granzier.

Helping people facing crisis is what these folks do best, but the topics causing turmoil don't usually include politics.

"Politics in general, elections, usually nothing,” said Oliver. “So this was definitely a different experience for us."

Right now, mental health experts are honing in to help those most at risk.

"There are certain, special populations we really need to look at,” said Granzier. “Veterans certainly, LGBTQ population, immigrants or refugees - or people who love immigrants and refugees."

If you or someone you know needs help the Frontline Crisis hotline is manned 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also reach them online Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Find out how to contact the crisis center here.