Headquarters Counseling Center was honored with the Crisis Center Excellence Award by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) at their conference in Austin. The annual Crisis Center Excellence Award recognizes one center for addressing crisis and life-threatening problems in their community.
The nomination stated: “It is hard to imagine any crisis center in the United States that has done more in the last year to expand the scope and magnitude of youth suicide prevention services than Headquarters Counseling Center, Inc., in its Garrett Lee Smith youth prevention initiative. It seems appropriate to recommend the staff of Headquarters Counseling Center led by Marcia Epstein, for their incredible dedication to suicide prevention, the amazing amount of work done by a few key people and motivated volunteers, and strong commitment to best practices and evidence-based programs to impact the cause of suicidal youth.”
Founded by University of Kansas students in 1969, Headquarters is one of the oldest continuously operating crisis centers in the country. Headquarters is the top provider of suicide prevention services in Kansas, and provides counseling for Kansans calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.
In August 2012 the center received a three-year federal grant to develop a state-wide safety net across the 105 counties of Kansas to reduce the number of suicide attempts and deaths of Kansans 10-24 years of age. Activities include providing training for community members as well as physical and behavioral health care professionals, developing suicide prevention coalitions, pilot projects between sites such as schools paired with mental health centers, and increasing the use of the suicide prevention hotline. A state-wide summit will be held at Fort Hays State University on July 30-31.
Locally, Headquarters provides a counseling hotline at 785-841-2345, the Phone A Friend line for children at 785-865-2600, walk-in counseling, support and guidance to groups after traumatic events, referrals to health and human services, and counseling training. Professional staff and highly trained volunteers are available on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center also offers support groups for family and friends coping with suicide loss. HQCC emphasizes that it relies on community donations and local grants for these local services.
The goal of the American Association of Suicidology is to understand and prevent suicide. The membership includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide and a variety of lay persons who have an interest in suicide prevention.