Calls For Help With Suicidal Thoughts On The Rise

Local News

It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but thankfully people are beginning to open up about suicide prevention. 

More and more families are seeking help when it comes to a loved one who is having suicidal thoughts.

Last year, the Helpline Center in Sioux Falls took a total of 903 suicide-related calls.  That’s up from the previous year when the center took 806 calls.  

While the number of calls has risen, the number of people dying by suicide is down from 36 to 27, which the Helpline Center says shows people are reaching out for help. 

When it comes to the Helpline Center, a lot of calls are coming from people who are having suicidal thoughts.  

Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams says most of the time, those calls save a life.

“When we work with somebody over the phone, who is in crisis, the vast majority of the time we are able to de-escalate the crisis, develop a safety plan with them and make sure they are stable,” Kittams said. 

But during the other remaining calls, where someone may be in imminent danger, they have to get law enforcement involved. 

Kittams says the fact that the number of suicide deaths in the Sioux Falls area is down is telling. 

“That shows that people recognize there is help and that they are reaching out for that and I’m encouraged by that, as opposed to if people who weren’t reaching out, I would be concerned about that,” Kittams said. 

When it comes to teenagers, Kittams says they reach for the phone in a different way. 

“We actually have a texting program for high school students, so we get a lot of texts in from high school students, who are struggling with depression, anxiety, family problems or suicide,” Kittams said. 

Which shows no matter how you contact the Helpline Center, someone will be there to listen. . 

“There’s help available and they’re not alone, so please reach out and contact us over the phone or text us and we’ll talk with you about it.  Often times it’s just knowing you’re not alone and there is somebody else to bounce off those thoughts with can be so helpful,” Kittams said. 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can call the Helpline Center by dialing 211 or 1-800-273-8255 or text ‘icare’ to 898211. 

You can use those numbers 24/7.  

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