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The WIU Department of Psychology recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Hotline call center.
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WIU's Hotline Call Center Students, Alumni and Faculty Celebrate 50th Anniversary

November 4, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Members of Western Illinois University's Psychology Department, students, faculty and alumni, gathered recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WIU Hotline call center.

Those in attendance took part in a costume contest, pumpkin decorating, a fall bake sale, the purchase of new Hotline t-shirts and the celebration of previous director, Professor Eugene Mathes. The event raised $350 for expanding Hotline services and providing scholarships for members.

Hotline was founded at WIU in 1971, due to the need for support services for a climbing suicide rate in McDonough County. During the beginning of Hotline, drug testing services were provided so those who used substances could do so as safely as possible.

Trainees are given over 32 hours of education and practice in interpersonal skills and crisis prevention prior to becoming volunteers. Over the years, students have participated in business meetings and retreats, fostering community and purpose among members. Prior to the event, program alumni sent messages reflecting on the friendships they made in Hotline, as well as those who they helped.

"There was this lady from a nearby town who would call every so often because she was alone and just wanted someone to talk to," said 2005 alumnus Ray.

Hotline has evolved over the years to a nightly support line for students and community members of the western Illinois region. Hotline provides telephone and text support, crisis intervention, referrals, suicide prevention and general advocacy. Hotline is open for calls every day residence halls are open, from 7 p.m.-1 a.m.

Hotline is a service provided for both the WIU and Macomb communities, and our staff consists of paraprofessional student volunteers. Volunteers are trained to provide callers with information, referrals, and telephone support and guidance. They provide empathy and understanding, while helping callers resolve their concerns.

Call (309) 298-3211 to reach Hotline for support.

For more information about Hotline call center, and the Psychology program at WIU, visit

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