Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections is being linked to an “unprecedented” spike in calls to suicide prevention hotlines.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received 660 calls between 1am and 2am Wednesday - two and a half times the average - the New York Daily News reported.
“It clearly is and was an indication that there’s a lot of anxiety and fear around the election,” director John Draper told the newspaper.
While the spike occurred just before and after Trump’s shock win over Hillary Clinton the hotline has said it often receives an upturn in calls during major events.
However, Draper said previous presidential elections had not prompted such an increase which he said was “unprecedented”.
“We weren’t polling whether people were Democrats or Republicans. But it’s clear that people who were calling were concerned about the outcome,” he said.
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, also reportedly received the second most daily calls in its 18-year history on Wednesday. The record day was in 2012 after its name featured on TV show Glee.
More than 95% of the young people who contacted the network expressed dread over the election.
The hotline’s spokesman, Steve Mendelsohn, said he did not believe “there’s ever been a time in this country’s recent history when there’s been so much hatred and bullying talk leading up to the election”.
Trans Lifeline also received a record number of calls during the election. Greta Martla, co-founder and executive director of Trans Lifeline, told BuzzFeed: “People find it hard enough to be a trans person during an Obama administration, and now we’re facing one of the most repressive and regressive administrations in modern history.”
According to various reports online, as many as eight transgender youths killed themselves following the news of Trump’s win, although the exact figure has not been verified.
Useful websites and helplines:
www.samaritans.org - Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone
www.mind.org.uk - open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
www.getconnected.org.uk - Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
www.papyrus-uk.org - HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41