People Who Care: When Crisis Calls
Christina Hallyburton, one of Monarch’s customer service operators, was only 14 minutes into her shift when she got an unexpected call. A man on the other end of the line started talking nervously – telling her he was hearing voices that were telling him to jump off the overpass where he was then standing.
Hallyburton said she was shocked at first, but she knew she needed to keep the man on the phone so that help could get to him in time.
“I started asking him questions,” she said. “I asked him what he was near. He told me he was behind a big church. I started writing all the landmarks around him down.”
When the other members of the customer service team heard her on the call, they immediately knew the man was in crisis. Winne Brown, another team member, jumped up and ran over to Hallyburton’s desk and the team lead, Cindy Hinson called 911. Brown relayed the information to Hinson as Christina wrote down what the man on the other end was telling her.
In order to keep him engaged, Christina continued to ask him simple questions about the clothes he was wearing, reassuring him Monarch’s Mobile Crisis team was on the way to help him. Then suddenly the phone got disconnected.
Hallyburton said she was so afraid that he had jumped as she called him right back. But to her relief, he picked up. She reassured him it wasn’t because she didn’t want to talk to him and reiterated that a police car and mobile crisis were on the way.
“He kept saying he was going to jump off the overpass, but I kept telling him we were going to get him help,” she said.
When Fallon Pope, the mobile crisis team lead, arrived at the overpass, the man was still on the phone with Hallyburton. They both reassured him they were going to take him to the hospital and that he was now safe. Hallyburton said the man asked if that was ok, she reiterated to him it was and then he thanked her.
“When he said thank you that was the biggest reward I could have gotten. I was relieved and thankful he was getting what he needed,” Hallyburton said.