SAMHSA Announces Additional Funding to Bolster Increasingly Strained National Suicide Prevention Lif

Source: SAMHSA News Release, 8/5/2009

Effects of the economy are placing increased demands on crisis services centers at the same time they face cutbacks from other funding sources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is moving to provide urgent funding to suicide prevention centers around the nation which are dealing with the enormous hardship wrought by the economic downturn. Many of these centers must cope with a sharp rise in the number of callers in crisis (often because of financial problems). At the same time these centers are threatened with significant cutbacks in funding from state and local governments and other sources of support.

“This is a critical situation – calls into suicide crisis centers have substantially increased during the past year – 54,054 calls in the last recorded month alone — with between 20 to 30 percent of calls being specifically linked to economic distress,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator, Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “These funds will help provide desperately needed assistance to those on the front lines, responding to this urgent public health need.” SAMHSA funds the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) through a cooperative agreement for Networking, Certifying and Training Suicide Prevention Hotlines that was awarded to Link2Health Solutions, Inc.

SAMHSA is providing more than $1 million in additional funding through a fiscal year (FY) 2009 supplement to this cooperative agreement. This supplemental funding will help expand the ability of the network of up to 20 crisis centers participating in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to deal with the increased demand for services during a time of financial hardship, and to reach out to those in their communities most at risk.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK, coordinates the network of 140 crisis centers across the United States providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to individuals seeking help at any time, day or night. Because of the rising number of calls coming into the crisis centers, and cutbacks in funding from others sources, many centers are experiencing extraordinary difficulties in maintaining their operations.

The $1,050,000 supplement will be overseen by SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

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