Speakers at the Valley Comm/Crisis Connections press conference on April 16. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.

Speakers at the Valley Comm/Crisis Connections press conference on April 16. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.

Help is 3 numbers away: Crisis 911-988-211 services are now under one roof

“Through the Valley Comm 911/Crisis Connections partnership, we will help thousands more South King County community members get through what they’re going through.”

Valley Communications Center, which provides 911 and other emergency communication services throughout South King County, announced a new partnership with Crisis Connections to bring mental health and social services support together with emergency responses.

Now, when South King County residents call 911, dispatchers can direct them to mental health professionals through 988 or through social service information specialists at 211.

“This collaboration with Crisis Connections enhances our emergency response capabilities, creating a more efficient and integrated system for our community,” said Vonnie Mayer, Executive Director of Valley Comm 911. “It’s a proud moment for us, showcasing our dedication to innovation and the safety and well-being of South King County residents.”

At an April 16 press conference, state and local political leaders and representatives from Crisis Connections and Valley Comm 911 spoke about the the new program at the South King County Fire Training Consortium in Kent.

“We hope that this effort will help build trust with our community members who are hesitant or downright fearful to call 911,” said Crisis Connections CEO Michelle McDaniel. “Since we launched our co-location team on March 11, Crisis Connection’s 988 counselors and 211 official referral specialists have handled over 100 calls that have been transferred by the 911 telecommunicators, and this is just the beginning. Through the Valley Comm 911/Crisis Connections partnership, we will help thousands more South King County community members get through what they’re going through.”

Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone spoke as a representative of the partner cities for Valley Comm, saying that the cities of South King County have “an amazing rich history of collaboration” and how Valley Comm 911 is a pioneer with its 988 and 211 integration.

“This innovative approach ensures callers facing behavioral health crisis receive appropriate support beyond traditional emergency response, which also frees up police and fire responders and emergencies. All of us in crisis instinctively call 911. For those suffering from behavioral health crisis, police, firefighters or paramedics aren’t always the right selection. With this model, a caller can be appropriately linked to someone who can provide more appropriate assistance,” said Mayor Pavone. “Bottom line, we are shifting from a default reliance on police and fire to more suitable resources for those suffering from behavioral health crisis. I’m confident we can and will continue to collaboratively meet the community’s needs with innovative and effective partnerships.”

Valley Comm 911 services different towns and cities throughout South King County, working with police departments in Algona, Auburn, Black Diamond, Des Moines, Kent, Federal Way Police, Pacific, Renton and Tukwila.

Valley Comm also works with other first responders like Tukwila Fire, Burien/North Highline Fire, Enumclaw Fire, Kangley-Palmer Fire, King County Airport, Mountain View Fire, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, Renton Regional Fire Authority, Skyway Fire, South King Fire & Rescue, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue and Outside Agency Assistance.

Crisis Connections just celebrated its 60-year anniversary as a non-profit that services Seattle, King County and Washington state. Crisis Connections offers helplines like 988 and 211 in King County, 24-hour Crisis Lines in eight counties throughout the state, Teen Link and Warm Line for peer support, support for suicide programs and the WA Recovery Help Line.

“Our partnership with Valley Comm 911 marks a significant advancement in community support, ensuring individuals experiencing a crisis receive appropriate, immediate, and compassionate care,” said McDaniel. “We believe this program will serve as a model, illustrating the profound impact of partnership and innovation to serve all community members so that the right help is always within reach.”

Help is 3 Numbers Away

211 – Call for Information & Community Resources:

Food

Shelter

Rent & housing

Utility assistance

Healthcare & hygiene

Employment

Educational support

Long-term COVID recovery

Transportation

Civil legal assistance

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Support for unpaid caregivers

Resources for older adults & adults with disabilities

General financial assistance

Care coordination

988 – Call for Suicide Intervention & Crisis Support:

Thoughts of suicide or crisis

• Concern about a loved one

• Mental & physical illness

• Emotional distress

• Substance use

• Self harm

• Family & relationship challenges

• Depression & anxiety

• Sexual identity

• Coping with abuse

• Loneliness & isolation

• Distress due to job loss & economic events

911 – Call for Emergencies:

• Medical emergency

• Fire

• Reporting a crime

• Impaired driving

• Disaster response

• Life threatening situation


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