TMHASLO Hotline has been awarded a 3-year Crisis Center Accreditation through the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). SLO Hotline 800-783-0607 is San Luis Obispo County’s confidential mental health, emotional support and suicide prevention phone line. It is available free of charge, 24 hours every day. SLO Hotline is a program of Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA), a community-based nonprofit.

The AAS, founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, Ph.D., promotes research, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. In addition, AAS serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide.

In 1976, the AAS developed a set of standards and criteria for certification of crisis centers throughout the United States. Today the AAS has more than 80 centers meeting stringent standards of service and training.

Besides the humanistic value of assuring minimum standards of service for persons in crisis, AAS accreditation validates service delivery programs that are performing according to nationally recognized standards and provides access to criteria for systematic, ongoing self-evaluation. In addition, accredited crisis centers have increased credibility with funding agencies and insurance companies.

People in life-threatening and other crises who obtain service from AAS-accredited programs are assured that staff has seriously examined their commitment to provide service according to recognized standards.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by AAS as a crisis center that meets a very high standard in the suicide prevention and crisis intervention services we provide through SLO Hotline,” said Barry Johnson, TMHA’s director of rehabilitation and advocacy services in San Luis Obispo. “Our on-going connection with this prestigious accreditation body will certainly make for better services and a higher degree of effectiveness.”

SLO Hotline is a valuable resource in the community, supporting the work of local government and mental health service agencies and relieving call volume for the local 911 service. Additionally, SLO Hotline will refer callers with other needs to 211, the resource phone number available for all other community information and referral needs, a program of United Way.

“Confidential telephone services are always available for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress through this program,” said Mike Bossenberry, program coordinator for SLO Hotline. “SLO Hotline is also available to answer non-emergency calls from anyone in need of emotional or mental health information or referrals.”

Bossenberry also passed a rigorous examination of his knowledge and application of crisis theory to his work with clients to receive an individual crisis worker certification through AAS.