Saturday, July 31, 2010

Important: Suicide Hotlines

Taking Calls From Veterans on the Brink

Leslie Smith, 30, talks to a veteran contemplating suicide during a shift at the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention hot line in Canandaigua, N.Y.

30 July 2010 CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — Melanie Poorman swiveled in her chair and punched a button on the phone. The caller, an Iraq war veteran in his 30s, had recently broken up with his girlfriend and was watching a movie, “Body of War,” that was triggering bad memories. He started to cry.

And he had a 12-gauge shotgun nearby. Could someone please come and take it away, he asked.

Ms. Poorman, 54, gently coaxed the man into unloading the weapon. As a co-worker called the police, she stayed on the line, talking to him about his girlfriend, his work, the war. Suddenly, there were sirens. “I unloaded the gun!” she heard him shout. And then he hung up. (He was taken to a hospital, she learned later.) Continued

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