Save 1-800-Suicide

Help Save 1.800.SUICIDE

I have lost two people close to me to suicide. The first was one of my classmates in 1992, he hung himself to have his best friend find him. The other one was just a couple of years ago. I am posting this because Daniel posted it and it made me feel like I should also spread the word, so shamelesly stealing the rest of his post

… bigger question: Why is the U.S. government making moves to shutdown the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline, which has provided an invaluable service to over 2 million callers?

From May 1998 to October 2001 and from January 2005 until now the hotline has survived on donated proceeds from the Take Action Tour and the support of organizations like the National Mental Health Association. Why? Because the Federal government is not giving this non-profit the $300,000 of already appropriated and earmarked funds that are still owed. As one can see by reading the termination notice sent to the non-profit, the hotline’s total amount owed is far less than the amount owed to the non-profit by the government. According to 1-800-SUICIDE’s website, SAMHSA:

… quietly filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 13th, 2006 to pull the private lines held by KBHC/1-800-SUICIDE.

This underhanded grab at these lines is taking place after two years of private communication and months of public debate ending with a commitment from SAMHSA to review and pay 1-800 SUICIDE’s claim on August 25th, 2006.

So what? What’s the big deal?

There are some valid concerns about the goverment taking control of this hotline.

  1. The U.S. government is statutorily prohibited from funding social service programs outside its borders. This would mean the hotline would go dead in Canada, and plans to expand the hotline into Mexico would end.
  2. Privacy. There are concerns that the goverment, and you know how they like to categorize people, will create a blacklist of callers. This could potentially keep a person, who went through a very bad time in their life, who got help and moved on, from bettering themselves by getting jobs police officers, air traffic controllers and so forth.

Granted, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center (KBHC) handed over 1-800-SUICIDE to the Feds, but only after they were told that privacy issues would be worked out. The issue remains: When the operators of 1-800-SUICIDE were already working with the government, except in turning over private data, what is the real motivation for this attemptive takeover by the government?

How can you help?

I’m glad you asked! You can help by writing letters to the FCC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Acting Director of SAMHSA. You should also check out the web site for 1-800-SUICIDE. You can start by reading their history/FAQ. If you feel so inclined, donating money will be the most effective way to make an immediate positive impact.

, , , , , , , .

6 comments on “Save 1-800-Suicide

  1. Ever notice how when you post something serious nobody comments?

    But when you post a Friday Feast you get comments up the wazoo?

  2. I have even tried to do a Friday Feast and then a serious post and people just scroll right to the feast… I guess they are just hungry.

  3. Or maybe it’s it’s the Osteritch way of thinking: If I bury my head in the sand and ignore the problem, it will go away!

  4. Some blogs take a little more time to respond since the information is sometimes hard to digest. You have to read it a couple more times to fully understand the severity of the situation. When it’s something frivolous like the Friday Feast it’s easy to think positive. It’s hard to comprehend why they would ever stop this program. I know this doesn’t compare to suicide, but I have noticed highways are becoming poluted again. Whatever happened to the campaign of “Give a hoot, don’t polute?” Just because it woked once and statistics went down doesn’t mean you stop the program. It doesn’t mean that everyone is cured and no one will ever contemplate suicide again. Yes, there maybe medications, but not everyone can afford them. This is a service that cannot end. Not only are people talked from ledges but they also get guidence to help themselves.

  5. I wanted to comment on this one, but hey… some of us are busy taking care of sick kids.

    Anyway, I hope more people give this issue the importance it deserves. Something that shocked me a lot was to learn that suicide kills more people in Canada than Cancer every year. The rates are so high, especially in the Province of Quebec, that governments getting rid of help lines is like sending people directly to the grave without giving them a chance.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Save 1-800-Suicide"

  1. […] take their own lives because they don’t see beyond the tormented tomorrow. I like to think of suicide as a permanent solution to a passing problem, but I know how it feels to dread going to school […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *