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Government Urges New Focus On Preventing Suicides

Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 11:10 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is urging a new focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans -- and is beefing up the nation's crisis hotline to help.

U.S. health officials said nearly 100 people every day commit suicide, and many more attempt it. The military has seen an alarming increase in suicides this year.

The federal government announced Monday it will boost staff by 50 percent at the national hotline -- 1-800-273-TALK -- that's open to military and civilians alike. It provided $55.6 million for state and local programs, and highlighted Facebook features that link distressed users to counselors.

And it is beginning public service announcements urging people to seek help if they spot signs that someone is suicidal.

As Surgeon General Regina Benjamin put it, "Preventing suicide is everyone's business."

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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