Regardless of how hard the times get, how hopeless things look, or how dark the future looks...we need to find a way to hang in there.
Mustering up the courage to stay the course is very often a hard thing to do.But the seemingly easy solution is neither easy or a true solution! In fact, this action hurts many more people than the person doing the act itself!
As is obvious from this story in the Chronicle, the problem is getting worse, and shows signs of increasing even more.
Houston crisis center awash with suicide callsBy CINDY GEORGE
July 20, 2010, 10:36PM
Suicide-related calls to Crisis Intervention of Houston have surged since the economic downturn began a few years ago, with the number of calls tripling in the first half of 2010 compared with the first six months of last year.
Counselors attribute the spike to the prolonged pressures of extended joblessness, depleted savings and expired unemployment benefits.
Compounded by the financial hardships of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike — as well as the real and predicted losses wrought by the Gulf Oil Spill — and the region has more people than ever turning to a calm voice on the other end of the line to talk about suicide.
“In the last six months, specifically, but really since the economy created such a bumpy road for all of us, we have been noticing … there’s a huge increase in suicide-related calls — either people who are considering suicide themselves or people who are worried about loved ones,” said Shari Koziol, Crisis Intervention’s executive director. “It has been 18 to 20 months of crisis.”
The nonprofit’s crisis hotline received 451 suicide-related calls in the first half of 2009 and 1,446 over the same period this year.
“It just tracks perfectly with the economy, with the jobless rate, with the sort of accumulated desperateness that different people have,” Koziol said. “You have a different level of resilience and six months later that resilience is a little eroded because things haven’t happened fast enough.”
Crisis calls related to economic hardships have increased along with suicide-related ones. Since November, callers with financial challenges have been screened to determine if they can be transferred to a new resource: The Houston Job Hotline. Those counselors answer questions, give referrals and offer callers resources to improve their chances of becoming employed.
Money for the job hotline came from a $7.2 million stimulus grant that Gulf Coast Community Services Association shared with 70 agencies. Crisis Intervention received $75,000 to start and staff the 24-hour job hotline.
Gulf Coast Community Services officials decided to spread the wealth to better serve people in need and to ensure that all of the money was spent by the one-year deadline, CEO Jonita Reynolds said.
“Because of the new face of poverty, we needed help,” she said.
In its first seven months, the job hotline received 2,309 calls.
“I think the numbers are going to prove that at the end of this relationship that there’s a significant need out there in Harris County,” Koziol added.
Empty cupboards, eviction notices and other economic emergencies are simply symptoms of larger insecurities families are facing in the Houston area.
That’s why a spike in suicide calls when there’s a glimmer of hope on the economic horizon rings believable to Scott Hickey, a clinical psychologist at Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, which provides low-cost care to poor and uninsured residents.
“We have reports at our neuropsychiatric center that we have had about a 30 percent increase in crisis visits in the last year,” Hickey said. “These economic times place unusual stress on people.”
I'm always surprised, and saddened, to see folks that chose to end their life. It's a sign of cowardice, of giving up, of total disregard for the feelings of friends and family! I strongly urge anyone thinking along these lines to call someone, ANYONE, and talk things over!
If you know someone that may be having these types of thoughts, please reach out to them! This ol' life is difficult enough at times, without having to go through tough times alone. Your friends can help, even if it's only by being there!
Believe me, there are other options available. There are folks that can help, folks that care about you, and believe it or not, nothing is as bad as it seems!
Besides, I'd miss having you drop by for coffee!
Now, my friend, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. Want to talk things over?