Sunday, June 29, 2008

Help Save 1-800-SUICIDE

As taken from

1-800-SUICIDE marks its tenth anniversary this year. It was founded in 1998 by Reese Butler in memory of his wife, Kristin who had committed suicide. The Kristin Brooks Hope Center has helped almost three million callers connect to help and hope.

As they enter their second decade of service to the public, continued support is needed to ensure that the confidentiality of every caller is protected. Because they are totally privately funded, they need to prove to the government that they are capable of supporting 1-800-SUICIDE to keep control of the line from being taken over by the federal government.

The money you donate will not only be used to pay the phone bill that connects about 50,000 callers each month to the Hopeline Network, but will also be used to pay for training of online crisis counselors who will provide the same support via online counseling. This is where the young people of today reach out for help. The success of 1-800-SUICIDE is based on individuals in crisis knowing that any personal identifiable information is kept strictly confidential.

The Hope Center's volunteer staff and Board remain committed to preserving confidential suicide prevention programs. Your action today assures their sustainability!

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center and its national 1-800-SUICIDE hotline is a great asset to our society - one of those private-sector initiatives called a "point of light." For reasons of their own, certain officials within the government tried to snuff that light. With your help and support together we can prevent that tragedy from occurring and help the Hopeline achieve success in liberating 1-800-SUICIDE from government control permanently.

This is definitely something worth saving. If you've ever found yourself in the grips of a depression so deep that you've considered taking that final step, then you understand exactly how vital it is to have some place to reach out to for help. Sometimes friends and family simply aren't enough. Or, they simply aren't there when you need them. At any rate, this is such a good thing that to lose it would be a great detriment.

I'm sure that a lot of you who come across this have also seen this at PostSecret. I'm sure that you've also read the e-mail/letter from Casie at the end of the site. That's just one person's story of being helped. Think of the millions of others who've called and been helped. Then think of the millions of people who won't get to receive that help should t he government get it's hands on it. I know I wouldn't be very likely to call if I couldn't be promised that what ever I said wouldn't be kept private and confidential.

1 comment:

sweetdefenestration said...

800-SUICIDE was subcontracted for years under the exact government grant that he's now railing against. There's a sordid history of scare-mongering with this dude that is deeply offensive to me. Now it's "you can't trust the government about privacy."

Back in 2006, he used the "the government is anti-gay" scare-mongering approach. Metafilter folks did a lot of good digging, including finding info directly from one of the workers who answers calls from 800-SUICIDE:

His pandering to all these hot-button groups is getting tricker and tricker -- he also recently has gotten in pretty heavy with the Right-to-Lifers, accusing the gov't hotline of sending pregnancy-related calls to "abortion businesses." Even the folks on the forum saw through that pretty quickly:

Yes, one should be aware of and actively involved with the workings of one's government, and approach (particularly "official") information with a critical eye. It's not the government -- it's your government. OK. What about Mr. 800-SUICIDE? Does he earn your intellectual trust, or does he play on your fear?

Let's take a look at what the future holds for 800-SUICIDE, according to their official documents, submitted to the FCC. 800-SUICIDE was the original national network of crisis centers that answered suicidal calls, based on some awesome routing that, yes, Reese did without government help. <3 .

But it looks as if Reese's plans for 800-SUICIDE have changed:
"KBHC has previously informed the [Federal Communications] Commission, KBHC has entered into service agreements with Heartbeat International, Care Net, and the Option Line to obtain telephony service for all of its lines, including the three temporarily reassigned suicide prevention hotlines. As a demonstration of its financial strength, KBHC has prepaid Option Line for 12-months of service for all of its numbers." Option Line is a pro-life, faith-based hotline and has no reference to suicide on their site outside the realm of abortion. I don't know what role Option Line will have in any individual call, but I don't see how 800-SUICIDE would be free from undue bias and influence of the big Evangelical machine.

Someone contemplating suicide with the strength to reach out and call and ask for help shouldn't have to contend with bias of any type.

That letter and all the public commentary is available here:"

Do your research, support shit you care about -- even here if after all that you still trust this guy, but don't be a pawn.