Election Results Cause Spike in Calls to Suicide Prevention Hotlines

PENNSYLVANIA, USA - NOVEMBER 13: Protesters gather during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party at the Easton town of Pennsylvania, United States on November 13, 2016. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As the votes came in for the 2016 elections, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline experienced a spike in calls.

Lifeline director John Draper told CNN that the network took 660 calls between 1 and 2 a.m., double or triple the volume they normally take, with calls increasing as election results poured in.

“I can’t say I’ve seen anything like this… And it’s certainly not something I’ve ever seen in an election,” said Draper, who has 25 years of experience in suicide prevention.

“They call and say it’s the election,” Draper said. “But by the end of the call, it’s about their lives, and that’s when we can help them.”

The Crisis Text Line saw “eight times the normal volume of texts” between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The Trevor Project, a crisis and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth, said its normal volume calls received “doubled as a result of the election.”

“It’s been ongoing since Tuesday night,” Steve Mendelsohn, deputy executive director explained. “Young people are calling us who’ve never called us before. They’re scared, and they don’t know who to turn to… Given all the rhetoric that they’ve heard leading up to the election, it makes sense that they’re frightened.”

He said that “more than 95% of those reaching out have talked about the election.”

A survey by the American Psychological Association released in October found that 52 percent of Americans said that the 2016 election was a significant source of stress.

The Pew Research Center released data in September that found people felt frustrated, disgusted, or scared by the election. Forty-three percent of those people were fearful as the final weeks of the election played out.


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