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Calls to suicide prevention helpline rose 21% over Christmas and New Year

Published 10/01/2016

An average of 185 calls per day were received by Console over the holiday period
An average of 185 calls per day were received by Console over the holiday period

Calls to a suicide prevention helpline rose by more than a fifth over Christmas and the New Year, a bereavement charity said.

An average of 185 calls per day were received by Console over the holiday period, with 4,116 people ringing the helpline in December 2015.

Console founder and chief executive Paul Kelly said: "There was a notable increase in calls from New Year's Day onwards from people in real despair and experiencing feelings of hopelessness, with many in suicidal crisis or in the process of taking their lives.

"We also received an increasing number of calls from third parties concerned about a loved one who was actively suicidal, self harming or in emotional or psychological distress."

He added: "We also experienced a large rise in young men texting HELP to 51444 who may be in suicidal crisis, have attempted suicide or are engaging in deliberate acts of self harm.

"Some texters may be about to take their own lives or at the stage of having it planned down to the fine details with a firm intent on following through with it.

"When people are experiencing this level of crisis, they sometimes find it easier to type than to talk."

There was a 21% spike in the number of callers over Christmas.

Mr Kelly said over Christmas some people felt lonely and isolated and this combined with their own personal circumstances could make them vulnerable.

"Although a joyful time for many, Christmas can tend to magnify life's pressures for people who may be vulnerable emotionally or psychologically.

"These pressures might be added financial worries, or perhaps it is the first Christmas since a significant event such as a death or a divorce.

"We took a lot of calls from people who felt the added pressure of disconnection from family and society, which can often lead to despair."

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