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News : Center Offers Service for Those Suffering from Depression
Palm Beach County FL, Dec 16, 2014 -- This week, deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office responded to four suicides within only twenty-four hours.
"We want people to feel comfortable to call us because we are here to help them," says Patrice Schroeder of 211. The service allows people from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast to call at any hour of the day, and get assistance with a problem. Those problems can stem from a variety of triggers, from financial problems to loss of a loved one. When severe enough, those problems can lead to suicidal thoughts or the act of suicide.
Every day the 211 center in Palm Beach County receives nearly 350 calls, and nearly a quarter of those calls are mental-health related. "Some people may be overwhelmed. They're struggling with changes in their life. Family dynamics may have changed, they may have financial struggles. At a time when they should be celebrating and rejoicing, perhaps they're focused on some of these struggles," Schroeder says.
Each day, the call center receives an average of seven suicide-related calls. The calls come from people considering suicide, or people who have friends or loved ones who may be showing signs of being suicidal. A person who may be considering suicide may give verbal cues, saying things like "I can't take it anymore. I wish I were dead." They also may have a change in their sleeping patterns or may be isolating themselves in social situations.
If you think someone is considering suicide, Schroeder says you should talk to them about it. She says many of those calling the 211 center regarding suicide are middle-aged people with financial instability.
The agency also helps the elderly. It offers a daily phone call, for free, to senior citizens through its Sunshine program. "We can just listen if they just want to talk about their day," Schroeder says.
The 211 center is open seven days a week, and is a free service for those who need to use it.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2014