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IMAlive is the world's first virtual crisis center with 100% of its volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Our goal is to use the power of Internet to provide crisis intervention, emotional support and resources to people in crisis online via chat.
On April 7th, 1998 two police officers knocked on the door of Reese's house in Vallejo, CA and told him that his wife Kristin had ended her life. The night before Kristin voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility hoping to get help for her long lasting depression.
Reese and Kristin were a happy couple waiting for the arrival of their new baby, when an ultrasound revealed several fetal abnormalities. After losing her daughter, Kristin plunged into a deep depression. Over the next few months she would try everything, from traditional antidepressants to holistic medicine and yoga. However, incorrectly prescribed medications caused her to lose sleep and become distraught. Hoping to finally find some relief, Kristin entered a psychiatric ward where her sleep deprivation got worse. She ended her life, not being able to bear the psychological and physical impact of her state any longer.
Reese sold their home and used the money to start Kristin Brooks Hope Center, a non-profit organization aimed at educating the public about suicide warning signs and the importance of proper treatment to prevent suicide. After he discovered that there was no national suicide hotline, he started 1-800-SUICIDE and linked over 200 crisis centers nationwide, one by one, into the National Hopeline Network. People in crisis no longer had to look through their phone book to find a local hotline. Once activated, 1-800-SUICIDE rang instantly and never stopped ringing since.
Reese also realized that a lot of people were still scared to call a suicide hotline and chose to talk to someone online instead. He set off to build on online crisis center that would allow volunteers from all over the US and Canada to get trained and support people in crisis online.
IMAlive.org, world's first virtual crisis center, was launched in April 2011, and has welcomed volunteers from all over the country. To provide online support volunteers have to take a 20 hour training course and pass an online exam with a qualified mental health professional. Our volunteers are always supported by experienced supervisors.
IMAlive volunteers are a unique group of dedicated individuals with a common mission - to provide empathic and non-judgemental support when chat visitors need it most. It is a one of a kind crisis center which provides a rewarding volunteer experience from the comfort of your home.
- Henry Reese Butler II
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