Lehigh County mental health help number changes after more than 20 years
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — After more than two decades, Lehigh County has a new phone number for those needing mental health assistance.
Recovery Partnership now will answer the calls instead of Pinebrook Family Answers.
- Lehigh County’s mental health line switched from Warmline to PeerLine in a cost cutting move
- Recovery Partnership is answering calls after Pinebrook Family Answers did so for more than 2 decades
- Lehigh County's new number is: 1-833-899-1331
For 23 years, Pinebrook Family Answers, which provides trauma services in Allentown and Easton, has provided over-the-phone mental health assistance to people in Lehigh County through the WarmLine.
The number was staffed from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Pinebrook Family Answers Chief Executive Officer Bill Vogler said Pinebrook recently was informed its WarmLine services were no longer needed as of July 1.
"We were told by Lehigh County that it had nothing to do with their dissatisfaction with our program," he said. "We've done it not just for a long time, but really well for a long time.
“It was a cost reduction measure for Lehigh County. They basically said, 'We don't have the money.'”
Vogler said the service got more than 400 calls a month, so it’s important to get the word out about the change.
“The habit changed so quickly," he said. "We're worried about the effect that might have on those callers, so anything we can do to get the new system out there for their sake is helpful.”
'Fairly easy conversion'
Now, Recovery Partnership will now staff the line. It provides mental health services out of Bethlehem. Chief Executive Officer Scott Kiefer said it already had a 24/7 PeerLine in place.
"It was a fairly easy conversion for us and cost effective option to do a 24-hour a day service in Lehigh County."Scott Kiefer, CEO, Recovery Partnership
"The county was looking for an option to go 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we were already operating a WarmLine or PeerLine in Northampton County 24 hours a day," Kiefer said.
"So it was a fairly easy conversion for us and cost effective option to do a 24-hour day service in Lehigh County.”
He said his organization works with anyone looking for support with his or her mental health recovery.
“We are all individuals with lived experience in mental health recovery, so we're coming from a place of experience there," he said. "Also, trained and certified by the state of Pennsylvania to provide certified peer support.”
Lehigh County's number is different from Northampton County’s number. The phone number formerly known as the WarmLine in Lehigh County now is 1-833-899-1331.
In Northampton County, the PeerLine is 855-PA-PEERS.