Palm Beach County, FL, USA, Jan 3, 2022 -- The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, but it's not for everyone.
"We have a lot of people that are just trying to meet their basic needs and that's driving a lot of the crisis calls that we're seeing. The housing issue is huge right now. We have a lot of people that are unable to afford the rent increases."
Patrice Schroeder with the 211 Helpline in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast tells us those financial concerns often leading to a feeling of helplessness.
Heading into the holiday season, the number of suicides had risen by more than 30 percent, to over 200 deaths.
That's why the community helpline and crisis hotline is there.
"When people call us, there is still hope. And we're there to be in their corner. We may not have all of the answers, but they know that there's somebody that they can reach out to anytime of day or night."
Schroeder says the folks working the phone lines are highly trained and will help the caller problem-solve, while letting them know of the services available to them.
"If we can get them to reach out to a relative they may not have spoken to in a long time or if there's a food pantry nearby."
She also asks us to keep in contact with family and friends who may be struggling right now.
In addition to suicide prevention, 211 offers help for youth, teens, veterans and the elderly.
Schroeder adds that 211 is available in many other parts of Florida and around the nation, though services may vary. All anyone has to do is dial 211.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, January 3, 2022
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