Mental health phone response center expands to all Alabama counties

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Photo courtesy of Children's of Alabama's PIRC

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Emilee Boster

Children’s of Alabama has expanded its Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) to reach all 67 counties in Alabama. 

The PIRC is a free and confidential phone response center that matches parents, family members and other adults with licensed mental health professionals in Alabama to discuss mental health resources and services for children and teenagers. 

Children’s of Alabama started the PIRC in 2018 in Central Alabama because people in the community were desperate to find mental health resources but were unsure where to find them and what type of service they needed. 

Though the PIRC could not create new local providers, PIRC Director Cindy Jones said the PIRC could connect people with existing mental health professionals in their areas. 

“Over time, we have seen the need grow for mental health services, and as the need has grown, we have provided those opportunities for other countries throughout the state,” Jones said. “We have expanded it statewide because the need is so great.”

In 2021, 3, 149 Alabamians called the PIRC for concerns such as anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts or actions. 

With its recent expansion to all Alabama counties, anyone in Alabama can call the PIRC at 205-638-7472 from 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. everyday and speak with a mental health professional in the PIRC office in Birmingham who will talk through the situation with the caller and find next steps — whether it be counseling, therapy or other mental health services — in the caller’s local area. 

“Many folks that are calling us are overwhelmed, desperate for help, and they’re eager to find the best resource for their child. So, we’re able to check some of the boxes for them and get them in the right direction,” said Jones.

Even if callers reach out to the local providers recommended to them by the PIRC professionals and the providers are not available, the callers can continue to call back until they receive necessary help. 

“The mental health needs for children continue to be an important priority for the Hospital,” said Jones. “The PIRC is able to align with those priorities by being available to any caregiver who needs help. We are here to help.”

People who want to support the PIRC can donate directly to a community foundation through their website

The PIRC encourages adults to call 205-638-7472 to speak with a licensed mental health professional and find necessary resources in their local area. 

The PIRC is not a suicide or crisis hotline. If you or a child are in a crisis situation or in immediate danger, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

Categories: Alabama News, Featured