Suicide is a significant public health issue. On average, there are 132 deaths by suicide per day in the United States. And for every person who dies, there are 25 more who attempt suicide.
In 2019, there were 2,014 deaths by suicide in the state of Pennsylvania, according to data provided by the CDC. 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 one year, a minimum of 12,084 Pennsylvania citizens became loss survivors, meaning they suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of suicide.
Fortunately, suicide is preventable. Each day, Family Service Association of Bucks County 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 the call center located in Bucks County or remotely from home. The call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The next series of training classes will take place virtually on Wednesdays from Feb. 10-March 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteers are expected to attend all training sessions. To register for training, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete the online application at fsabc.org/volunteer. Register by Feb. 1.