We all know about dialing 911 for emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance, but there's another telephone number to dial for health and human services in Oklahoma: 2-1-1. Whether you're struggling with addiction, are having a hard time finding a job, or need counseling for any number of issues, Oklahoma 211 can help. Here are some frequently asked questions about the service and information on how you can volunteer.
What is 211?
Introduced by the United Way and Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) in 1997, the 211 system (dialing 2-1-1 on your telephone) is reserved throughout the United States and Canada as a referral for health and human service organizations. It is available throughout the state of Oklahoma.
How does it work?
Oklahoma 211 is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can be reached from any landline or cell phone. The service is absolutely confidential.
Who answers when I call?
Call centers are staffed with certified specialists that can direct a caller to any number of local health or human services agencies. The specialist accesses a database of services and gives a direct referral. Oklahoma also employs a language translation service.
What kind of services are available?
Available health and human services depend on the geographical area. But for the call center in Oklahoma City, known as Heartline, the list is long and includes both public and private services such as:
- Addiction counseling
- Disaster relief
- Charitable donation opportunities
- Homeless services
- Housing and rental assistance
- Senior citizen assistance
- Job counseling and programs
- Education and literacy
- Suicide prevention
- Support groups
- Legal services
- Parenting and child care programs
- Debt counseling
- Information for military families
That's really only the beginning. You can do a keyword search based on your zip code to see the many providers and agencies in your local area.
According to program officials, 211 is intended to cover the "spectrum of human need." So if you or someone you love needs assistance, don't hesitate. Just dial three simple numbers.
Can I volunteer to help?
Absolutely. Heartline utilizes volunteers for a suicide prevention program in schools, and the call center has both paid personnel and volunteers. For more information, check opportunities online or call (405) 840-9396, extension 135.
You can also help financially by becoming a member or just offering a one-time gift. For information on how to do so, see heartlineoklahoma.org.