TAMPA - The phone calls come in by the thousands at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, where many of those thousands are from people considering suicide.
And in this last year, those who work the phones say the calls coming in have a more desperate tone.
Bonnie Bush has manned lines for 7 years, and she says it's heartwrenching
"The types of calls have changed. It has gone from people just needing help -- problems with the kids needing food, to paying rent -- to people like us who have never have had to ask for help. With the economy, everybody is having a hard time."
Statistics aren't in for this year. But, Nina Cillo, the center's suicide prevention coordinator, said there were 199 confirmed suicides last year. She believes many more were never reported.
"If there were any other disease that had taken that many lives, our entire society would be up in arms and doing something about it."
So, Nina and her team decided they would do something about it. The center has launched a new campaign. They are reaching out to other county agencies in hopes of gathering data on the gaps in services that people need.
"That is something we have to do something about and we can it's preventable. It is about trying to change peoples consciousness so they can see it as a public health issue."
A public health issue Cillo says not only has grown in our county but our surrounding ones.
Her message tonight, is that help is one phone call away.
According to national statistics, Florida has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Within the state, Hillsborough County is among the highest.
If you need help, the Crisis Center is there for you. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 211 OR 1-800-273-TALK.
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