Santino: Senior Suicide Hotline Helps Over 200 Seniors During “Holiday Blues”

Only three months after Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced the launch of a senior suicide hotline, in tandem with the Long Island Crisis Center (LICC), over two hundred seniors have reached out for help. The 24/7 helpline assists mature residents who are in crisis. Experts indicate that the holidays and winter months can be a particularly difficult time for senior citizens who are battling depression. The LICC logged 242 calls from December 1st, 2016 through March 1st, 2017. The LICC also began a series of Senior Crisis Intervention seminars at Town of Hempstead senior centers that deal with grief, loneliness and depression.

“The fact that over two hundred seniors reached out for help proves the need for this crucial service,” stated Santino. “The goal is to prevent senior suicide, combat depression and help people who are in crisis. After only three months, I am pleased to say we are making a difference.”

“Most of the calls have dealt with family relationships, financial issues, resources for getting help in various aspects of their lives, and the feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially now in the winter months,” said Linda Leonard, Executive Director of LICC. “It was also remarkable to see that even with their own problems, many of our senior citizens called because they were concerned about others – from their adult children with addiction crises to relatives voicing suicidal thoughts.  Today’s senior population deserves our care and attention – we thank Supervisor Santino for taking a leadership role in this initiative.” 

Counselors say the holiday season can be particularly difficult for seniors. Issues such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “Holiday Blues,” can manifest themselves through depressive symptoms. The Senior Connection Helpline is a 24/7 service that will give seniors in crisis the critical help they deserve. The helpline is staffed with highly trained professionals and exceptional volunteers.

The LICC has over 45 years of suicide prevention experience and their staff members utilize the “Active Listening Skills” method to speak with the troubled callers. Thanks to a grant from the Town of Hempstead’s Planning and Economic Development Department, the service is available completely free of charge.

The LICC began visiting each of Hempstead Town’s 16 senior centers to spread the word of the helpline and their other services.For a list of dates, time and locations please go to http://longislandcrisiscenter.org/senior-connection-helpline/.

The Senior Connection Helpline is available at (516) 679-0000.

“If you are in need or if you know of a family member in need, do not hesitate to call for help,” concluded Santino. “One call can truly make a difference.”