North Dakota Suicide Hotline Reaches One Million Calls

FirstLink says its annual number of calls has increased by almost 20-thousand in the last eight years. Employees at the nonprofit says the number is a reflection that they are making a difference, one call at a time.
“More calls is actually a great thing, because it shows that people need the service, people feel comfortable calling the service,” said David Vining of FirstLink.

Vining says the number is also a sign that there are fewer stigmas surrounding mental illness, and knowing when to ask for help in crisis.
“Everybody has hard days, everybody needs somebody to talk to and having the 211 hotline, the suicide life line is a great thing for anybody. Having someone to talk to in a crisis is a powerful thing,” says Vinning.
Firstlink helps callers dealing with a variety of different crises.
“I need help with food today, I need help with rent today, I need help with child care for my children,” says Vinning.
Employees then refers callers to agencies in their area that can help, one of the most used referrals is the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry.
“I see a lot of stressed faces when people walk in it’s probably one of the hardest days of their lives,” said Stacie Loegering of the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry.
The pantry says its partnership with FirstLink is giving those in crisis hope for tomorrow.
“So were really glad to be able to serve the clients after they talked to somebody on the 211 help line, to really bridge that that need to put food on their table,” said Loegering.
FirstLink says improved technology also has made it easier to refer specific services to callers based on their location.

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