Confidential call easier way for men to get help

Fri, 06/08/2007 - 3:00pm
By: The Citizen

ATLANTA – Men seek help less often than women for a variety of problems, including substance abuse and depression, often due to pride and stigma, according to recent studies.

For these men, making a confidential call is an easier way to start the process of getting help. Georgia’s first statewide crisis and access line, 1-800-715-4225, offers both confidentiality and anonymity. On average, about half of callers are male.

“In most situations, men like to have control,” says Travis Fretwell, Program Chief for the State Office of Addictive Diseases. “Making a confidential call for help, rather than walking into an office, can help to give them that.” But, Fretwell warns, “At some point in this process, the caller may need to let go of some of his control to get help.”

In May, the Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) received more than 20,000 calls from people interested in learning about mental health services in their area, or just to speak with a trained counselor. “We definitely have a large number of callers who are looking to confidentially make a first step,” says David Covington, CEO of Behavioral Health Link which manages the state’s crisis access line. “On average, 49% of callers are male who tend to be more open to discussing addiction issues than mental health problems. There is definitely more stigma in the male mind regarding mental health.”

A range of community-based services now exist throughout Georgia, including substance abuse services and family intensive treatment. In some cases, mobile services can come directly to a person’s home. The crisis line is also complimented by a new web site ( that allows callers to zero-in on services close to where they live, even providing maps to their location.

“For many, getting help is a process. If and when the caller is ready, we can help them get to the next step of their recovery,” says Fretwell.

A crisis has no schedule. GCAL is available 24 hours and 7 days a week for problems with mental health, drugs, or alcohol. For additional information, call 1-800-715-4225 or visit

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