The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

1.800.SUICIDE Saved?

It’s always nice to be able to post a positive update. A while back I blogged about the 1.800.SUICIDE resource for suicide prevention being in peril. Now via the Save 1.800.SUICIDE website and Scott Goodstein’s MySpace blog comes news that they’ve reached an agreement with SAMHSA that will allow them to stay open, and the phone to be answered, while their funding is reviewed.

Then ended up having to donate the 1.800.SUICiDE to SAMHSA, but Scott explains why that had to happen.

We will work to assure the public that the line will still remain confidential and will advocate for the privacy rights of callers and the crisis centers that take those calls. Without your support, letters, petitions and donations we could not have made this transition happen.

The purpose of the donation was to preserve not only 1-800-SUICIDE as a resource for all Americans, but also to preserve the KBHCs 19 other hotlines which combined receive over 24,000 calls a year. The 1-800-SUICIDE hotline continues to receive over 400,000 calls a year. In the 8 years 1-800-SUICIDE has been operational KBHC routed 2,012,072 callers up to the day it turned over responsibility to the government for maintaining the line for the good of the American public.

The decision to donate the line to the federal government was not an easy one.

We will report back to you after the claim is reviewed and processed to let you know the outcomes. If the review is not fair and balanced, and or fails to follow the OMB rules we will note that as well and ask that you bring additional pressure onto this agency.

As KBHC has over 15 separate programs, our survival as an independent agency is very important to many underserved population groups. The greatest need lies in the area of peer counseling lines such as the Teen-to-Teen Youth America Hotline 1-877-YOUTHLINE and the new veterans PTSD 1-877-Vet-2-Vet hotline.

The work and cost of supporting 1-800-SUICIDE consumed our agency and prevented us from addressing these, as well as other key and critically underserved populations.

So, it sounds they were essentially backed into a corner by SAMHSA, to the point where the survival of the agency and it’s other services were threatend. It’s likely that the fight is not quite over.

My own concerns about just why SAMHSA (particularly under this administration) seems to have wanted very much to absorb a service that was being run effectively independent of government ownership and control aren’t fully satisfied by this outcome. Given the record with “faith-based” initiatives, I still think it’s likely a suicidal lgbt youth may someday call 1.800.SUICIDE and find themselves talking to someone on James Dobson’s payroll, or something close to that.

I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground for developments on this story. Mainly because I don’t trust any agency under this administration’s control not to turn it over to their cronies in the “proselytizing-for-pay” cottage industry their “faith-based” initiative has birthed.

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