I’m often asked if suicide prevention hotlines have seen an increase in calls over the last several years.
The assumption people are working with is that things are worse – bad economy, endless wars, job loss – and the hope they’re working with is that people will reach out.
So when I had the pleasure of hearing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘s director John Draper speak last week, I was happy to hear that the Lifeline has seen an increase in call volume.
It’s actually a huge increase, worth noting. In 2005, the Lifeline received about 50,000 calls. Now, the Lifeline is getting over 550,000 calls. The Lifeline has been promoting itself through old and new media, from magnets (I saw one affixed to an actual phone booth in Las Vegas last year) to a Facebook page. Also, for better and for worse, suicide has been getting a lot of press, which has meant that suicide prevention has been getting a lot of press. Media that want to contribute to effective suicide prevention put the Lifeline number in their stories so that people who are in need of help know where they can call.