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Holiday Suicides: 24-Hour Hotline Asks for Your Help - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Holiday Suicides: 24-Hour Hotline Asks for Your Help

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We've all heard that the rate of suicides tends to increase around the holidays, thanks to stress, isolation and a host of other factors.

And now, the region's only 24-hour a day hotline for folks at risk of suicide is asking for your help.

Firstlink in Fargo is the only call center in the state plugged in to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

They say their highest number of calls this year have come in October, with the second highest in July.

They say calls have increased overall in 2012.

"It's hard for us to say why calls are higher at certain times of the year. Everybody has their own stress," says Executive Director Cindy Miller. Miller says numbers averaged at about 85 calls per month from folks struggling with suicidal thoughts in 2011. They've since risen to 99 calls per month. "We're the only ones on the ground, twenty-four hours a day this time of year, so it's really important for people to remember that."

If you are suffering from thoughts of suicide, or you know someone who may be, call 1-800-273-TALK. Here are some warning signs someone you know may be suffering:

talking about wanting to die

looking for a way to kill oneself

talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

talking about being a burden to others

increasing use of alcohol or drugs

acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly

sleeping too little or too much

withdrawing or feeling isolated

showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

displaying mood swings

Firstlink doesn't get formal funding from any state agencies, so your donations make a major difference. In 2010, Bismarck's call center was forced to close due to lack of funding, leaving Fargo to pick up the slack. If you would like to make a donation, send a check addressed to Firstlink, PO Box 447, Fargo, ND, 58017.

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