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Suicide hotline expanded for holiday season

The Department of Social Services has announced the expansion of the national suicide hotline in response to an increase in the number of reports of suicide attempts in the country.

At a news conference yesterday at the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Dr. Kirk Christie, psychiatrist, said that while the public hears primarily about successful suicide attempts, a large number of attempted suicides are taking place.

Social Services has added 21 counsellors to the suicide intervention program over the holiday season. They will receive cell phones from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)in an effort to ensure counselling is available to those contemplating suicide.

“That’s a lot of people that will be available and they will be trained,”said Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.”We would like to encourage Bahamians that if you feel depressed and you need to speak to someone, please call our hotline at 322-2763.”

Loretta Butler-Turner, Minster of State for Social Development, said those suffering depression may not be in a state of mind to call the hotline for help. Therefore, she added, it may be up to friends and relatives noticing suicidal tendencies to call counsellors for assistance.

The expanded suicide hotline will be available until January 11, 2011.

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