To the editor:
I am distressed about Marcia Epstein’s departure from Headquarters Counseling Center, and very frustrated with the paltry thanks offered by the board president. Marcia’s many contributions to Lawrence and to the state of Kansas cannot be adequately expressed within this small space, but she deserves better than what I read on Nov. 22. Marcia has kept Headquarters going as a unique, independent service that anyone can call at any time with any concern and be able to talk right away with a trained, caring counselor, for free. That’s absolutely amazing. We as a community have not valued that enough, which is why Headquarters is in such dire financial straits.
A clarification also needs to be made as to the Nov. 22 article: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) is a network of crisis centers across the country. Headquarters is the one and only NSPL center for all of Kansas. If someone in Kansas calls the 1-800-273-TALK number after midnight now, it will still ring into Headquarters. After it goes unanswered, the call will roll over to the NSPL center in Iowa. If that center is busy, the call will roll over again to a center in another state. Eventually, it will get answered by someone, but it will not be someone in Kansas, with knowledge about Kansas resources. That isn’t good for people who are seeking help and for those who care about them.
The impact of losing Marcia, and possibly losing Headquarters, will be felt in one way or another by all of us in Lawrence.