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An average of 165 calls per day were received by Console over the holiday period, an increase of 31 per cent on the equivalent ten-day period last year, with almost 4,000 people ringing the helpline in December 2014.
“There was a notable increase in calls following deaths by suicide nationwide, combined with very high-risk, low-risk and moderate-risk calls from people in suicidal crisis,” said Console founder and CEO Mr Paul Kelly.
“The increase in calls illustrates a huge demand for the Console freephone 1800 247 247 suicide prevention helpline with over 3,250 calls now received per month, quite apart from the spike that we experienced at Christmas which brought our December numbers to 3,924.
“The Christmas period tends to be a very difficult time for some people who can feel very lonely and isolated, and this, combined with their own personal circumstances can lead some people to be very vulnerable at this time.”
According to Mr Kelly, Console helpline staff are trained to make an intervention if needed. The organisation has seen “a marked increase in our outgoing contact with the frontline emergency services such as the gardai, ambulance or hospitals on behalf of callers”.