Suicide is a significant public health issue. On average, there are 129 deaths by suicide per day in the United States. And for every person who dies, there are 25 more who attempt suicide.
In 2017 and 2018 combined, 166 Bucks County residents died by suicide, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Each completed suicide has devastating effects and intimately affects at least six other people, causing a major life disruption. This means that during the course of two years, a minimum of 996 Bucks County citizens became loss survivors, meaning they suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of suicide.
Fortunately, suicide is preventable. Each and every day, Family Service receives calls from people in distress via its CONTACT Helpline (215-355-6000) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). Trained staff and volunteers answer these calls for help and ultimately save lives.
One Lifeline caller wrote: “I called your lifeline and was connected to a volunteer. She helped me through a moment that almost cost me my life. She gave me the strength to seek out treatment and to reach out to those who mean something to me. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.”
Family Service needs help answering the nearly 1,800 calls for help it receives each month. You can make a difference in the community by becoming a volunteer listener.
Volunteers are everyday citizens who undergo classroom and on-the-job training until they’re comfortable answering calls on their own. Not all calls are from suicidal individuals. Some callers are struggling with the effects of anxiety or depression and don’t know where to turn for help. Others have limited social interactions and just want someone who is willing to listen. All callers are seeking relief from distress.
Become a volunteer and help save lives. Volunteers give a minimum of eight hours a month answering phones in call centers located in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Call centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The next series of training classes will take place on Tuesdays from Jan. 7-11, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Langhorne. To register for training, contact Maria Picciotti, director of community based services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-757-6916, Ext. 230. You can also complete the online application at fsabc.org/volunteer. Please register by Jan. 3.