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News : Crisis Hotline Makes Sure Help Just a Phone Call Away
Feb 20, 2014 — The phone rings. A trained volunteer picks up the phone and answers, "Crisis Center, can I help you?" The voice on the other end of the line responds, "I just needed to hear someone pick up the phone. I will be OK today. Thank you."
Some days, this may be all it takes — knowing someone is just a phone call away, willing and able to listen, provide support and respond in case of a crisis. Other days can be more difficult.
Suicidal thoughts and ideation plague nearly 30,000 individuals in the United States each year to the point where they are successful in taking their own lives. Another 30,000 make an attempt on their lives each year, but are unsuccessful. Thirty-six Butler County residents commit suicide annually, nearly half of which are under the age of 25.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24. The highest suicide rate is among teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT). These individuals are two to six times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Teen and young adult males are five to 10 times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts.
For the past few years, we have seen and heard the detrimental effects that bullying has on the psyche of young people as a precipitating factor in suicide attempts and completions. Many school districts, ours included, have implemented anti-bullying tactics and strategies to combat bullying and build a network of allies to provide support, hope and help to those who need it in any of our five schools.
There is another population of at-risk young people that call Oxford home as well. Miami University, through a federal grant, has initiated a number of suicide prevention initiatives, including the Just in Case app for smartphones that allows students in crisis to be instantly connected with someone who is able to help. This, combined with the educational outreach and counseling services provided through the Miami University Student Counseling Center, provide an outlet of support and potential treatment options for Miami students in need.
The Community Counseling and Crisis Center (CCCC) recently rolled out its new Crisis Hotline number — 1-844-4CRISIS (1-844-427-4747) — which combines three previous numbers into one, easy to remember number. Joan Burger, director of business development for St. Aloysius’ Butler County Services (including CCCC), revealed some startling statistics to me recently. Each month, the Crisis Hotline receives an average of 12 phone calls related to suicide attempts. According to the data provided to me, which covers the past year, none of those attempts has resulted in a successful suicide. However, the community has a growing concern related to the recent suicides of Miami University students that have taken place over the past couple of years at the railroad crossing at College Avenue. To address this concern, CCCC and the Butler County Mental Health Board plan on putting up a billboard at this location with the hotline number on it in hopes it triggers second thoughts and initiates a phone call prior to acting on the individual’s suicidal thoughts.
There are a number of community agencies, organizations and groups that are working to address this growing concern among mental health professionals and social service providers. You can help too — the Crisis Hotline relies on thoroughly trained volunteers to staff the phones 24 hours a day. If you are interested in becoming a trained Crisis Consultant, contact CCCC at 513-523-4149.
Suicide is no laughing matter to those left to pick up the pieces and make sense out of a senseless tragedy. If you think someone may be in trouble, please call or refer them to the Butler County Crisis Hotline at 1-844-4CRISIS (1-844-427-4747) or seek help immediately. We owe it to ourselves, our community, our family, friends and neighbors to be on the lookout for warning signs and calls for help.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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