A Day in the Life of Operating SAARA's Warmline

Warmlines, similar to "hotlines", are phone lines used to connect people in need with a peer on the other end of the phone who can provide resources in real time. Warmlines not only offer immediate help to the callers, but also provide a genuine human interaction with someone who has lived experience.

SAARA's Alive RVA Warmline has been in operation since October 2017. In the past month, our warmline received 78 calls, including 38 from new callers. This week we sat down with Jason Cox, the supervisor of our warmline.

When Jason first moved to Richmond, after living all over the state of Virginia, he moved into a sober living house and was painting for a local company. His boss at the time also was in recovery and would take Jason to 12-Step meetings, and recommended to Jason that he get involved with SAARA so that he spent more time focusing on his recovery. Jason has been with SAARA for just over 2 years now and has made his presence felt as he has quickly climbed the ladder into a leadership position.

When asked how he would explain the warm line to someone “we provide treatment resources, support groups in the area, clothing, shelter, and most importantly a comfortable voice for someone to talk to that is actively struggling."

One of Jason’s favorite parts of getting involved with the warmline is doing presentations to police departments. Jason being almost four years clean explained how great of an opportunity it is to go into the police departments that he always worried would arrest him and tell personal stories. The goal is to explain the importance of peer support and help departments learn from these personal stories on alternative ways they can help with the substance use problems in the city.

A fun fact about Jason and his career is that all of the years he spent getting high, getting arrested, and feeling lost has been his greatest gift. Jason says that,

“My experience has served me well working in recovery, people can relate to my story and it gives hope.”

Jason’s favorite part of working with SAARA is being able to share his story with the community and advocating for recovery by showing what it has done for him and other people in the community. Jason loves being able to give a brief moment of hope to those struggling, or family members trying to find resources.

But with the good in this field also comes the hardest part. "Not everyone wants help", Jason says. The hardest part over his two years at SAARA is building connections and then watching people fall back into their addiction.

Since getting clean, and getting involved in the recovery community Jason has had a growing passion for continuing his education around substance use disorders and mental health by taking over 20 different certifications. A few of these being: Peer Recovery, Revive training for naltrexone, Mental Health first aid with United Health Care.

Moving forward, Jason is going to be stepping into a new role as SAARA has partnered up with St. Mary’s Hospital. His new label is “Community Peer”, where he will be advocating at different places around the community for peer support. His goal is to connect resources available in the community to expand opportunities.

If you would like to apply to work on SAARA's Alive RVA Warmline, click here.

If you want more information about the Alive RVA Warmline, click here.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, call the warmline at (833)473-3782.

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