Hannah’s House Offers Families a New Helpline to Get Professional Help

Trained and Licensed Therapists Ready to Answer
Calls from Parents Who Need Assistance

SAN DIEGO, April 15, 2020 - Hannah’s House, a San Diego-based nonprofit specializing in helping families peacefully transition through family breakup, divorce and parental loss, has a new way to support families across San Diego county.

Hannah’s Family Helpline, launched on April 15 2020, has trained and licensed therapists ready to answer calls from parents who need assistance with a range of issues to include family breakup, divorce, substance abuse, domestic violence counseling and navigation through the Family Court/Family Law legal system.

Hannah’s Family Helpline supports parents with any issue that may threaten healthy functioning for parents and for children.  When parents call this helpline, they will leave a message and their call will be returned within one hour by a licensed therapist or master-level therapist trainee from Hannah’s House. This will be a critical service to low-income parents who typically do not have access to therapy and counseling resources, as well as any family in need of virtual services during shelter-in-place orders .

“We especially hope Hannah’s Family Helpline can assist parents who may be struggling in their couple’s relationship right now due to the increased stress from isolation, unemployment, economic uncertainty, health scares and food shortages,” stated Susan Griffin, Hannah’s House Executive Director. “We are offering up to one hour of free Telehealth counseling for parents who are new to Hannah’s House.  Our therapists can answer questions, offer resources and referrals, provide counseling for parenting and co-parenting concerns, as well as any problems that may be stressful for the parents or the entire family.”

Why Now? Hannah’s House realized a helpline service was needed in 2019 for San Diego County and planned to launch this service later in 2020 but the current COVID-19 outbreak pushed Hannah’s House to get this resource out there to families in need. This free helpline offers a safe and convenient way for families to get help without jeopardizing their health by seeking counseling in person.

The Need is Unfortunately Growing. Since COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders took effect, the San Diego City Attorney's Office expressed concerns of domestic abuse and gun violence among residents confined to the close quarters of their homes. The frequency of cases appears to be increasing, with 26 orders obtained during March and 20 within the first 10 days of April, according to the City Attorney's Office, which said many of the recent cases involved domestic violence or mental health issues, including multiple threats of suicide. We anticipate the HF Helpline volume will be higher than usual during this uncertain time.

Hannah’s House Advice for Families

  1. Create a daily routine for everyone in the family. For example, make your bed (yes, parents, too!) Everyone may eat breakfast in PJs and then get dressed for the day - real clothes, not daytime pjs!
  2. Build together time and alone time into the daily routine. Include both structured time and unstructured time alternating for all family members throughout the day. We all need recess.
  3. Make an agreement to share 5 positive moments with each other daily. Some families do this throughout the day, and some create a special time in the evening over dinner or right after dinner.
  4. Build shared activities into your daily routine! Board games, card games, scavenger hunts, reading aloud, crafting, art, skits, music, and, of course active play like biking, skateboarding, walking, and running!
  5. Children need more protection from ALL adult worries and challenges during this unsettling time. Children also need an abundance of parental warmth and care. And they need parents who listen and really ‘hear’ the child - listen with your 3rd ear, the one that perceives the emotions and concerns of little ones as they ask questions, express concerns in their play, and so on.

For families seeking a confidential and free way to discuss tough issues, they can call Hannah’s Family Helpline at 1-833-OUR-KIDZ / 1-833-687-5439.  This phone line is available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and all therapists are bilingual in English and Spanish.  For more details about the helpline, visit https://hannahs-house.org/go/hannahs-family-helpline/.


About Hannah’s House

Since June 1988, Hannah’s House has built resilience and well-being in Family Court-involved families experiencing breakup by teaching parents to co-parent peacefully and minimize the conflict that causes harm to a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. In the past 32 years, Hannah’s House has served over 23,000 families and provided over 268,000 hours of warm and peaceful child-parent family time. We protect children during the highly emotional and often traumatic family transition by supporting, counseling and coaching the parents. We ensure the child has the solid foundation of a healthy, loving relationship with both parents, in order to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), family abductions and domestic violence.

Hannah’s House specializes in providing comprehensive wrap-around services for separating families, such as supervised visitation, safe exchanges, therapy, co-parenting classes and coaching, substance abuse and domestic violence counseling. We serve primarily Family Court families and we are the only organization in San Diego County with a dedicated, secure facility for court-ordered supervised visitation and safe exchange. Family Court, unlike Dependency Court, is not allowed, by law, to provide any financial support to the social service community. There is no Federal, State or County funding for these families or the organizations that serve them. We are a San Diego County Live Well Partner and have a working collaboration with the Global Supervised Visitation Network and the Price Philanthropies CIty Heights program.

For more details visit, www.hannahs-house.org.


Who is Hannah?

Hannah is the namesake of our organization and the continued inspiration for our work. She reminds all of us, every day, of the importance of a safe and secure routine for the children of divorce and separation. And she inspires us to protect children from the trauma she suffered.

Hannah was a toddler when one of her parents abducted her - a family abduction which accounts for the vast majority of child abductions across the world.  She was on the run with her parent, living underground without schooling, dental or medical care, and coping with an ever-changing identity to ensure they were not discovered. Everything about her life kept changing, with no warning, and she had no say in it and no control over it.

During that time Hannah’s other parent and two sisters struggled with fear, depression and despair. They tried to cope with the alternating hope Hannah would be found and the grief that she was lost to them forever.

Upon her return to the family left behind, Hannah showed remarkable resilience as she struggled to accept and understand what was happening, and what had happened to her. And she did so with the loving support of her family, as well as a supportive relationship with a psychologist who worked with Hannah as she worked to adjust to her new life. In the spirit of inspiring parental care, Hannah’s  estranged parent almost immediately understood that Hannah needed both parents in her life if she was to have the greatest possibility of healing.

This is the core value and belief at Hannah’s House. Children need a strong relationship with both parents to achieve their potential in life. It doesn’t matter whether parents live together or separately.

NOTE: Fewer than 350 children annually are abducted by strangers in the United States. The Justice Department estimates that 155,800 children are victims of serious family abductions each year.


Media Contact

Laura Weston, Development Director
(858) 354-3365