The 1Life suicide helpline in Ireland reported receiving a total of 33,453 calls last year for help, which works out to about 99 calls per day, writes the Irish Examiner. 1Life, a suicide intervention and prevention hot-line, was established in 2009 and is staffed round the clock by medical professionals and counselors.
Director of 1Life Paul Kelly said that around 42% of those who called the help-line last year were “considered to be at a low, moderate, or high suicide risk or in the act of taking their lives.”
In a further breakdown of last year’s calls, Kelly reported that “About 35% of people called 1Life for listening support; 6% of calls were made by people who had been bereaved by suicide; and 7% were received from people looking for information.”
More than 60% of those who phoned in were women.
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"Women are more inclined to talk about how they are feeling, whereas men find that very difficult to do. It really is an issue that has to be addressed because we can only begin to offer help when the first call is made," Kelly explained.
Not surprisingly, Christmas and the New Year can be the hardest times for people, said Kelly. Economic factors, including the massive downturn in the Irish economy and fears of repossession of callers’ homes, are intensified during the holiday season. In fact, following Christmas, 1Life is expecting a 30% increase in callers who are feeling the pains of economic stress.
"1Life will operate day and night all through Christmas and the new year period, as it does all year round,” said Kelly, who urged the public to consider contacting the help-line should their regular medical service be disrupted with the holidays.
1Life will provide “emotional support, therapeutic counselling and, in the event of emergencies, crisis referrals and emergency intervention," he said.
The help-line is not exclusive for those coping with self-harm, but is open to those who are concerned about loved ones and are seeking help for ways to intervene as well.