211 Crisisline Helping to Save Lives and Raise Awareness about Suicide Prevention
September 2013-Suicide is recognized as a serious public-health problem that is of national and global concern. September 8th marked the start of the 39th annual National Suicide Prevention Week while September 10th spotlighted World Suicide Prevention Day. This campaign is spearheaded by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), and is a collaborative effort by many agencies nationwide to help increase awareness about suicide prevention. For the staff at 211 Crisisline suicide prevention is an everyday occurrence with an average of 7 suicidal individuals or those concerned family or friends calling daily.
From January 1st through August 31st of 2013, 211 staff have received 1,877 suicide calls (all levels.) The good news is this number is down 6.43% for the same time period from the previous year 2012 with 2,006 suicide calls received.
“Suicide is preventable and as a community we all can work together to break the stigma associated with reaching out for help,” said Susan Buza, Executive Director for 211. In the meantime 211 staff work tirelessly to ensure that a warm comforting voice is at the other end of the line, ready to listen, ready to help.
August first around midnight, 211 call specialist Erica received a call from a man with such heavy feelings of hopelessness and in such despair that he wanted to lay down on the train tracks he was walking by. He was heavily intoxicated and distraught over the recent death of his mother. Erica stayed on the line with him, listening to his story attempting to help him see some light in his situation.
Patrice Schroeder Public Information Officer for 211 commented “Erica was able to get a sense of his location as he conversed and law enforcement were quickly alerted.” Officer Henry arrived on the scene to find the man actually lying on the tracks but too drunk to move. A train was heading towards them from the north. After two attempts, Henry was able to pull the man from the tracks stating that the train had just missed them by 5 or 10 seconds that’s how close it came to hitting them. As the man came too, he thanked the officer, grateful for the rescue.
“Individuals who contemplate suicide do not see how their decision will impact others – they will leave on average 7 people as survivors, struggling in the aftermath,” says Schroeder. “As the stigma of reaching out for mental health help decreases through awareness efforts, we will begin to make real strides in prevention efforts.”
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) reports that:
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, dial 2-1-1.
Common Warning Signs and ways to help someone who might be contemplating suicide:
If you suspect that a friend or loved one is contemplating suicide, the following actions are recommended:
If you think that someone is in danger of committing suicide or has actually made a suicide attempt:
For more information about National Suicide Prevention Week, visit http://www.suicidology.org/resources/nspw.
Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing.
Experts also know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. There are services available in our community for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes.
Please join 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast in supporting suicide prevention. Learn about the warning signs. Help a suicidal person seek help. Together, we can reduce the number of suicides in our community.
Call 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast 24-hours a day for free, crisis counseling and suicide prevention assistance.
Reference: American Association of Suicidology, Public Service Announcement.