PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — At Crisis Response Network, call center employees sign up to save lives. When that’s not the outcome, it can take a toll.
“When most people call here, they’re calling because they want help,” said Travis Anderson, who works at CRN. “There’s something there that they’re looking for. They want a reason, I feel, to live.”
Anderson, who works on the phones and is a supervisor, calls his job rewarding. “It can be quite a challenge, but to be able to step in and find the reasons for them to live, is great,” said Anderson.
Although Crisis Response Network said its success rate is high, not every caller can be saved. “It can weigh a lot,” said Anderson. “It is a heavy responsibility, and we each feel that.”
CRN partners with police departments across Arizona to help with calls.
“I’ve probably taken 10 police calls today, police and fire,” said Anderson.
CRN CEO Justin Chase said the non-profit gets more than 300 calls a month from first responders asking for help. “There are times police will be out on scene and ask us to talk with the individual on the phone,” said Chase. “We’ve had situations where we’ve had a standoff situation where they’ll slide a phone underneath the door and will talk to them to see if we can get them to come out.”
While employees call the job stressful, they say it’s important work. “It’s just a challenge for us to do better, to be on our game, to understand people, try to empathize with them, see the pain they’re going through,” said Anderson.
Over the weekend, a Mesa man was shot and killed by police after he had called a mental health hotline. Police say 23-year-old Keenan Sailer had been making suicidal threats. After 45 minutes on the line with a counselor, Sailer walked outside and pointed a gun at officers, according to police. Mesa police say when he refused to listen to commands to drop the gun, officers shot him.
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