2-1-1/LIFE LINE, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Ad Council of Rochester host an “Early Help Seeking Summit”

The first Early Help Seeking for Basic Needs and Mental Health Issues Summit was held Wednesday, March 11 at the Goodwill of the Finger Lakes main campus. Attendees included members of several of Rochester’s social and human services organizations.

The summit began with an overview of the Early Help Seeking community impact campaign that the Ad Council of Rochester is coordinating with the help of 2-1-1, a mission service of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, and many other community partners, including the United Way of Greater Rochester. Ad Council President Todd Butler discussed the campaign and presented examples of the creative that is being used throughout the Greater Rochester area to promote the message of getting connected to help early before the issue becomes a crisis.

The keynote address was presented by Kerry Knox, PhD., Associate Professor with the Department of Psychiatry Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She spoke about her work studying the utilization of early help seeking strategies and tactics within the U.S. Air Force to decrease the number of suicides in that branch of the military. Her underlying message was that everyone needs help at some point in his or her lives, and seeking help early is integral to getting the help that is needed.

The summit then turned to small group discussions. Each group was asked to discuss barriers to early help seeking, how to incorporate early help seeking and dialing 2-1-1 into the programs and services each participant was a part of, and methods for distributing the message about early help seeking and using 2-1-1 as a resource throughout their networks. Each small group reported back two of the most important things they believed would help move the community impact campaign forward. These outputs included building and maintaining trust, providing positive support in communities to cut through the stigma of seeking help, and educating service providers about the vital community asset 2-1-1 is.

The summit ended with each attendee coming away with a fuller understanding of what the Ad Council’s Early Help Seeking Community Impact Campaign is and how dialing 2-1-1 before the issue becomes a crisis can help.