Sadly, It's A Busy Time At Houston's Suicide Hotline

A week ago, The New York Times reported  that demands on the city's 24-hour suicide hotline had ballooned as never before. Alan Ross, a veteran employee of the hotline's sponsor - the Samaritans of New York - said last year's 28 percent increase in demand "was like nothing he had ever seen before."

Hair Balls wondered if a similarly grim scenario was unfolding at Crisis Intervention of Houston, our local equivalent.

In a word, yes, says CIH director Dr. Shaun Lester. "There has been a 20 percent growth in calls each year for the last two years," he says.

For much of the end of last year, Lester says the calls often were related to the trauma of Hurricane Ike. In December there came a shift toward the economy. "Most recently a lot have been related to housing assistance," Lester says. "People can't pay their mortgage or their rent or they are finding themselves suddenly homeless."

Normally this is the place where we would make some kind of joke, but this time around, we just can't.

- John Nova Lomax

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