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After-hours counseling provides students with 24/7 access to support

<p>Miami students now have 24/7 access to counseling through the H.O.P.E line. </p>

Miami students now have 24/7 access to counseling through the H.O.P.E line.

Miami University students now have access to counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The university Student Counseling Services (SCS) have expanded to include a 24-hour H.O.P.E. line available to students.

The H.O.P.E. line, which stands for Help Over The Phone Everywhere, is available for “immediate support, crisis intervention and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor,” according to the Student Life website.

All students on Miami’s campus have access to the line at all times.

The line is not funded by Miami but was created after the Joseph and Laura Klunk Family Foundation made a large donation to SCS. 

The Joseph and Laura Klunk Family Foundation is a charitable organization based in Cincinnati. The Klunks, a Miami Merger couple, are dedicated to issues involving substance abuse and mental illness in children and families. 

“Generous donors wanted to support Miami students and look for a way that they can try and increase access to students,” said John Ward, SCS director. 

Ward declined to comment on how much was donated or how much it takes to run the counseling line.

Ward explained  the after-hours line can be used in “an instance when, say, someone is having a panic attack, and they want to talk to someone right away,” as opposed to walking to SCS.

The after-hours line, ProtoCall, a national provider of on-call mental health services, has been used on Miami’s campus since October 2015. Previously, the number for the 24/7 phone line was only provided to counseling center staff, Miami police and select residence life staff in case of emergencies. SCS did not previously have the funds required to cover the expenses of an all-access, 24/7 phone line.

“The service, on this scale, was cost prohibitive before,” Ward said.

Junior Megan Jurell used the after-hours line at the suggestion of her RA when she needed to talk to someone at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. RAs are given a protocol to follow regarding mental health and are able to encourage students to call the after-hours phone line.

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“I got techniques to use until I could actually call [SCS],” Jurell said. “The Student Counseling Service is closed during the weekends, and so I got some tips before I could call on Monday.”

Counselors are not employed by Miami but are from an outside service. The H.O.P.E. line service is provided by ProtoCall. 

Ward emphasized the after-hours line is a supplement, not a replacement, for traditional counseling. The line is primarily used “in between appointments with SCS or while on the waitlist (in non-life-threatening situations),” according to the Student Life website.  

“It really represents a huge leap forward in our ability to open up services to students,” Ward said.

Jurell said that she would recommend the line to other students who need immediate help. She stressed how helpful the line was in getting her in contact with counselors.

“I’m part of the coping workshop now on Thursdays. So, so far, it’s been helpful,” Jurell said.

The H.O.P.E. Line phone number is 855-249-5649. For an immediate and life-threatening psychological crisis, students should call 9-1-1, Miami Police (513-529-2222) or present themselves to the nearest emergency room.