Suicide Prevention Hotlines Struggle to Keep Up with Spike in Activity Following Celebrity Suicides
May 24, 2019
New research suggests crisis services may struggle to meet demand after high-profile suicide deaths. Using national data, researchers found that the average daily number of suicide deaths increased in the 30 days after Robin Williams’s suicide death. They also found that calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased dramatically, while the rate of answered calls decreased. Following Williams’s death, visits to SPRC and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education websites also increased. “Crisis mental health services, such as suicide prevention hotlines and websites, provide effective counseling and vital resources for people in suicide distress,” said Jane Pearson, chair of the National Institute of Mental Health Suicide Research Consortium. “We need to ensure these services have sufficient resources to serve the public 24/7, especially in times of increased demand.”
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