NEWS

Obama administration urges new focus on preventing suicides, boosts staff at crisis hotline

09/10/2012 12:05 EDT | Updated 11/10/2012 05:12 EST
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is urging a new focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans — and is beefing up the nation's crisis hotline to help.

U.S. health officials said nearly 100 people every day commit suicide, and many more attempt it. The military has seen an alarming increase in suicides this year.

The federal government announced Monday it will boost staff by 50 per cent at the national hotline — 1-800-273-TALK — that's open to military and civilians alike. It provided $55.6 million for state and local programs, and highlighted Facebook features that link distressed users to counsellors.

And it is beginning public service announcements urging people to seek help if they spot signs that someone is suicidal.

As Surgeon General Regina Benjamin put it, "Preventing suicide is everyone's business."

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