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This page features timely information as well as special workshops and seminars presented by our members.

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January/February 2009


Suicide Hotlines See Rise in Calls as Economy Tanks

by Sandy Plone, Ph.D.

By David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2008


The grim economic stats out there this holiday season from layoffs, foreclosures and cutbacks have contributed to a full-blown crisis rather than the usual “seasonal blues” of the holidays. Mental health experts say the sour economy has probably caused suicide hotlines to see almost double the amount of calls, as well as an increase in the intensity of calls.

The number one emotion people are reporting is fear; people are feeling hopeless and helpless because of the economic crisis, and many doubt that things will get better. Calls are coming in from those who have lost their homes, or their jobs, or who still have a job but can’t meet the cost of living. Not only are these calls coming from people grappling with sadness or confusion, but also from those who are pondering their own demise. Mental Health professionals cite some warning signs of depression to watch for in yourself, or in your loved ones:

1-Irritability or a tendency to engage in arguments.

2-Withdrawal from ordinary activities or hobbies.

3-Forgetfullness, sleeplessness or trouble concentrating.

4-Mood changes, especially unusual feelings of sadness.

5-Increased use of alcohol or drugs.

While the experts say that showing some, or even all of these symptoms doesn’t mean you’re clinically depressed, the best plan is to practice prevention, and reach out for help. Ken Kondo offers the best advice:” ASK FOR HELP” -- Several free hotline numbers are available:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at (800) 273-TALK.
In the Los Angeles area, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center can be reached at (877) 7-CRISIS.


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