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Monday, November 24, 2008

A Million Calls

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network has answered its one millionth call since the hotline was launched on Jan. 1, 2005.

“The Lifeline reached this significant milestone because more people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis are becoming aware that help is available just by picking up the telephone and dialing 1-800-273-TALK,” said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s acting administrator, Eric Broderick, D.D.S, M.P.H.

Using state-of-the-art technology and a network of 133 local crisis centers across the country, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) can immediately link a caller seeking help to a trained counselor closest to the caller’s location, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls to the toll-free Lifeline are confidential.

“People who feel hopeless, who don’t see a way out of their problems and their pain, need to know that there is somewhere they can turn for support and assistance. You are not alone,” Dr. Broderick said.

SAMHSA, which established the Lifeline in 2005 with a grant to Link2Health Solutions, Inc., has been working with organizations such as the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to focus public attention on the nationwide impact of suicide and to highlight ways to prevent it. In 2005, suicides accounted for 32,637 deaths in the United States. The suicide estimate is for the latest year for which data is available. The total is almost twice the number of homicides.

Within the past 15 months, the Lifeline has become linked with the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline - a partnership between SAMHSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Hotline provides national, around-the-clock access to crisis counseling for veterans and their families. Veterans seeking help or concerned family members can call 800-273-TALK (8255) and press “1” to be connected to a specialized call center run by the Department of Veterans Affairs and staffed by mental health professionals.

Currently, calls to the Lifeline average 47,500 per month, with more than 1,580 people calling daily.
...from SAMHSA website

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