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U.S. Gov't Boosts Funding of Suicide Crisis Centers

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The tough economic situation in the United States has apparently contributed to a sharp increase in calls to suicide crisis centers, so the federal government is offering the centers increased funding.

In July, there were more than 57,000 calls to suicide prevention lines and about one-quarter of them were related to economic worries, said Richard McKeon, lead health adviser for suicide prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Associated Press reported.

This year, SAMHSA will provide more than $1 million in additional money to help as many as 20 crisis centers cope with the increasing number of calls, as well as possible cuts in state and local funding.

"We know that every single day, there are people calling who are in the midst of a suicide attempt," McKeon told the AP. "Any delay in getting that call answered could be tragic."

Normally, SAMHSA provides a grant of about $2.9 million a year to help fund the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which directs calls to about 140 crisis centers across the country.

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