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Crisis Line of Will, Grundy Counties continues support of community in 40th year

Medication? Check. Referral? Check. Safety? Check. These are some of the precautions volunteers at the Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties are taking when people in crisis call in for support. Untold amounts of people will be served by the not-for-profit agency by the year’s end as it looks to cap off its 40th year.

Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties executive director Michele Batara said reaching this milestone brings great meaning.

“As the director, it is a really big milestone especially in the not-for-profit world with funding always being an issue,” she said. “To be able to say, ‘you reached 40 years’ is actually a very amazing accomplishment and feeling because it’s getting harder and harder in today’s economy and world to be able do that.”

The Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties continues to support the community through a number of services, including telephone counseling, suicide prevention and intervention, reassurance calls and information and referral. Those supports are available at no cost to those in need.

The Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties is a member agency of United Way. That program funds the organization’s operations, minus grants and contracts.

Batara said the agency has responded well to change over time.

“We’ve been able to serve the same services that we’ve always have,” she said. “Over the years, it seems like less and less resources we’ve been able to do that. Even though, maybe technology has increased for us. We use computers now, before we didn’t.”

The organization has accomplished a number of feats in the last 40 years.

The Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties started utilizing a database for referrals within the last three years.

Batara said this offers another way of reaching individuals who might not otherwise call the crisis line, but still being able to help them.

The introduction of the online database referral system allows people to look for resources and find all of what they need in one central location.

“The fact that we’ve been there and been able to provide the same services to the same amount of people or more people throughout the year is some of our accomplishments,” Batara said. “To say that we celebrated 40 years is an accomplishment.”

While the Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties turned 40 years in 2016, the agency still works to build community awareness for services and programs available to those in need.

“Our services are primarily over the phone,” Batara said. “However, we do outreach, we do expos, I do a suicide workshop. We go out and we try to educate whoever is interested about suicide warning signs, how can you help, what are things you can do.”

The Crisis Line of Will and Grundy Counties is an agency run, in part, by trained volunteers.

Batara said all those manning the crisis line phones understand the importance of serving as a listening ear.

“We’re people who care and want to be able to help as many people as we can the best that we can,” she said. “I know it’s limited, it’s over the phone but it really does make a difference in many people’s lives.”

For more information or to get involved, call the agency’s administration office at 815-744-5280 or visit their website at

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