Georgia now has an app that can help youth in crisis reach out to professionals and licensed clinicians for the help they need.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp along with several state officials announced the new mobile application to support the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL), a 24/7 hotline offering free and confidential access to services for mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The My GCAL app — for Apple and Android smartphones — was designed to reach Georgia’s youth in times of need, and GCAL is staffed by caring professionals – including licensed clinicians – who are available 24/7 to address behavioral health crises, make referrals for treatment, and dispatch mobile crisis response teams.
“Traveling across the state, Marty and I have heard firsthand from parents, students, teachers, and administrators about the growing mental health crisis in our schools and communities. That’s why we’re taking action to fund mental health intervention services, school security measures, and innovative tools like the My GCAL app,” Kemp said.
“Right now, Georgia’s youth face tremendous pressure to ‘fit in’ with their peers, and it can take a severe emotional and physical toll on their day-to-day lives,” said First Lady Marty Kemp. “As the parents of three teenage daughters, Brian and I understand that Georgia families face this challenge every single day. We’re committed to standing with them in this fight.”
At today’s announcement, Governor Kemp and the First Lady were joined by DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald; State Representatives Sharon Cooper (R – Marietta), Katie Dempsey (R – Rome), Terry Rogers (R – Clarkesville), and Kevin Tanner (R – Dawsonville); and State Senators Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome), Brian Strickland (R – McDonough), and Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia).
“We know that when youth may be struggling or have a friend who needs help, they are much more likely to reach out via text rather than phone,” said Fitzgerald. “This app provides the same professional, confidential response as the GCAL Call Center through a method that works for teens. We hope that it will become a lifeline for youth seeking help.”
The app enables users to receive immediate support by communicating with caring GCAL professionals via text message, chat, or phone. While the My GCAL app is targeted at youth, GCAL is available to anyone in Georgia.
More About The Georgia Crisis and Access Line
The Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) is a 24/7 behavioral health crisis call center operated by Behavioral Health Link through funding from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
GCAL provides free and confidential behavioral health crisis intervention and access to behavioral health services. Anyone in Georgia can call GCAL for help for themselves or on behalf of someone else at 800-715-4225 or via the My GCAL app.
Callers actively experiencing a crisis can speak with live clinicians trained in de-escalation. When needed, GCAL can dispatch mobile crisis response teams to provide de-escalation on-site. GCAL information specialists can also provide referrals for treatment in a caller’s area.