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Article updated: 7/8/2013 12:05 PM

Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a lifesaver

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By Dave Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which the DuPage County Health Department joined one year ago, has already taken more than 2,200 calls, an average of 185 per month, from people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

The national Lifeline is a network of more than 150 centers across the country, which offers 24-hour confidential suicide prevention assistance to callers in distress. Calls from within DuPage County go to the national Lifeline and then may be routed to crisis counselors at the Health Department.

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When callers reach the hotline, they are asked questions about their suicidal intentions and an assessment is conducted over the phone to determine the level of risk and what additional steps are necessary in order to help stabilize the crisis. Callers may be offered a variety of services including referrals to local resources, periodic checks from our staff or possible hospitalization that may include staff sending police to check on the caller.

The goals of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are easy access to assistance, reaching more people who are at risk and ensuring a high level of quality service to people who are seeking help. There are approximately 30,000 deaths annually due to suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to participating in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Health Department offers a separate Crisis Hotline for people experiencing a variety of mental health crises or callers who may be in need of other resources within the county.

All calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and Crisis Hotline (1-630-627-1700) are handled on a 24/7 basis by live counselors who are specially trained to work with callers experiencing emotional distress.

For more information, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.dupagehealth.org.

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