Westfield-based suicide hotline sees spike in calls following Ro - FOX 13 News

Westfield-based suicide hotline sees spike in calls following Robin Williams' death

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CONTACT We Care, a New Jersey suicide prevention hotline based in Westfield, is experiencing a spike in calls following the highly publicized suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams, according Joanne Oppelt, the hotline's executive director.

“Call volume goes up after a suicide makes the news. Not only do we get more calls, we get more calls relating to suicide from both people in crisis and people who are concerned about others,” said Oppelt. “Suicide can be contagious, especially if it is sensationalized. People who are already thinking of suicide may be triggered and their thoughts become more intense. Also, if there are a string of suicides, it may become an ‘acceptable' way to cope with things.”

Oppelt urged anyone in need of someone to talk to call the hotline any time at 800-273-8255. An additional line, 908-232-2880, is available daily from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. You can also text with listeners at the hotline from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday by texting "CWC" to 839863.

“CONTACT We Care is a caring and listening line. Our mission is suicide prevention, which covers the gamut of emotions from ‘I'm lonely' to ‘I'm about to kill myself,'” Oppelt explained. “The number-one risk factor for suicide is social isolation; the number one protective factor is social connection. CONTACT We Care exists to provide social connection. The key is prevention. So, it is important enough to call anytime a person wants to make a connection with another human being, whatever the reason.”


By: Jackie Lieberman (The Alternative Press)


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