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Calls Increase To Crisis & Suicide Support Lines Post-Election

Dorathy Gass

As many across the U.S. nation, and the world for that matter, were stunned after presidential nominee Donald Trump was voted in to become America’s next president, another shocking thing occurred across the country. John Draper, as well as his colleagues from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, saw an increase in callers.

In fact, in the early morning of November 9th, 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. to be exact, Draper noted that the network saw approximately 660 calls; that is a double to triple amount of what the organization usually receives. As Draper stated, it was unlike anything he had seen before, and not like anything he’s seen from an election.

Established in 2005, Draper notes that there was an increase in calls to the organization after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, during a time where he oversaw the New York City line. However, calls have not seen a surge in this regard since 2014, when actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide. In that case, the surge could’ve been linked to an underlying promotion of the line’s number via the media, however, during the election, the number had not been promoted as such: which makes the increase in this circumstance so shocking and unexpected.

While the election did trigger the increase in calls, with people stating their intent for the call was about the election; Draper notes that by the end of the chat, people begin to dive into their lives, and it provided them with a good opportunity to help callers.

The good news is, since the aftermath of the election shocker, calls have levelled. However, other services are reporting an increase in interest.

CNN reported that the Crisis Text Line also noted an increase in texts around the midnight hour, post-election day, in and around 1 a.m. early Wednesday morning. Spokesperson for the organization Liz Eddy stated that they received eight times the volume of texts than normal.

Generally, the organization receives approximately 1,000 texters, however, from 7 a.m. that election Tuesday to the following Wednesday morning that number increased to 2,000. It further increased from Wednesday to Thursday morning (post-election) to 4,000. While the Crisis Text Line, established in 2013, had also seen an increase around the time Williams took his own life, as well as during the 2015 San Bernardino and Paris attacks, this is the first time the organization has seen an increase in texts, when it comes to politics.

The Trevor Project is another support organization that offers suicide prevention and crisis support to the LGBT community and questioned youth. In 2015, they responded via phone, online chat, or text to about 54,000 contacts. As per the organization’s deputy executive director, Steve Mendelsohn, the organization has received double the contacts after the election results and has remained this way. Mendelsohn states that over 95 percent of those who have contacted them since, have wanted to talk about the U.S. presidential election.

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