Transgender Michigan Helpline Continues to Take Calls Amid Pandemic

Rachel Crandall-Crocker is a licensed master social worker and the executive director of Transgender Michigan. In addition, she's the primary volunteer for the Transgender Michigan Helpline. She explained its function and that it serves a vital role in the transgender community, now more than ever.

"The helpline has been in existence for over 20 years," Crandall-Crocker said. "It is exclusively a trans helpline. We get calls from people wanting to come out and we get calls from professionals. And lately, we've been getting calls from people regarding being alone and isolated as a result of COVID[-19].

"A lot of people in my community were so alone and isolated already," she continued. "Then all of a sudden, they're isolated completely alone."

She mentioned that she talked to one individual who hadn't talked live to another person for over a month.

As a psychotherapist with 40 years of helpline experience, Crandall-Crocker is well qualified for this work. Still, it's intended to be available 24/7.

"We have one other transgender person who has an awful lot of experience; however, I take the majority of calls," Crandall-Crocker said.

Although they may miss a call occasionally, Crandall-Crocker said they try to always be at the ready. She also stressed that it's not a suicide hotline.

"I'd like to add that we are a helpline," Crandall-Crocker said. "It's OK if people have an issue and they just want to talk about it. There are some lines that are specifically suicide intervention. That's not what we are. We are a helpline. If someone is real lonely, it's OK that they call."

A message of support from Rachel Crandall-Crocker during COVID-19: