Government to boost funding for suicide prevention

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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According to a new release from the American Psychological Association (APA), the government is boosting funding to suicide prevention hotlines across the nation. Crisis prevention centers across the nation have experienced an increase in suicide calls related to economic woes.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to anyone facing an emotional crisis. It is free of charge, and confidential. More than 140 crisis centers in 48 states handle daily calls to assist with crisis counseling and make referrals to mental health resources twenty four hours a day.

Funding for suicide prevention comes from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). The suicide lifeline was launched in 2005, and this year Dr. Phil joined Lifeline to step up efforts to prevent suicides and offer help during the economic crisis.

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According to Richard McKeon, the lead health adviser for suicide prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there were 57,000 calls to suicide centers in July - one fourth of those were related to economic worries.

Adequate training and staffing for suicide centers is crucial for prevention. McKeon said, "We know that every single day, there are people calling who are in the midst of a suicide attempt. Any delay in getting that call answered could be tragic”. The current economic crisis has placed an increased demand on suicide prevention centers across the nation.

SAMSHA plans to provide an additional one million dollars this year to support suicide call centers that are facing cutbacks at state and local levels – however the call centers saw a twenty-five percent increase in calls from people contemplating suicide, related to the economy.

SAMSHA normally provides 2.9 million dollars annually to suicide call centers. The increase in suicide calls related to economic fears will keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available for those who are struggling with severe depression and in need of crisis intervention. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

http://www.apa.org/
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