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Crisislink Hotline Raises $5K to Support Suicide Prevention Program

Crisislink1Economic woes may have put tempers and finances to the test for millions of Americans, and for Crisislink, the D.C. Metro area’s key suicide prevention hotline, it’s been their top priority to keep vital services active for heavy new waves of individuals and families in need of support.

The 41-year-old hotline and resource center held its seventh annual Luncheon and Fashion Show fundraiser last Saturday at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Fairfax.

 

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Judy Ryan, owner of the women’s boutique Judy Ryan of Fairfax, stands with volunteer models at CrisisLink’s seventh annual Luncheon & Fashion Show. (Photo: Danny Fowler)

Economic woes may have put tempers and finances to the test for millions of Americans, and for Crisislink, the D.C. Metro area’s key suicide prevention hotline, it’s been top priority to keep vital services active for individuals and families in need of support.

The 41-year-old hotline and resource center held its seventh annual Luncheon and Fashion Show fundraiser last Saturday at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Fairfax.

The fundraiser brought together dozens of longtime Crisislink supporters from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland to bid on items donated for the benefit’s silent auction, a first for the luncheon, and the fashion show.

Crisislink, which has handled more than 500,000 calls since it began as the Northern Virginia Hotline in 1969, now uses 87 trained counselors who volunteer 150 hours a year, and a contingent of hotline counselors who operate after midnight.

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Event sponsors Judy Ryan, owner Judy Ryan of Fairfax, stands alonside Outback owner Keith Kirkland (center) and CrisisLink’s Managing Director of Business & Fund Development Marshall Ellis. (Photo: Danny Fowler)

Yen said the demand for Crisislink’s services has increased since the U.S. entered the current economic downturn. Crisislink counselors have answered 24,498 calls “from people in crisis and in need of information and referrals to community resources,” she said. “This is nearly double the number of calls we answered during the same period last year.”

“We’ve had more calls from middle-class individuals whose lives were stable for as long as they could remember,” she continued. “Since the crisis, they’ve been struggling with depression and finances, and the burden can be too much for them.”

There has been an 80 percent rise in calls from youths aged 10 – 24 years old. Yen said “the staggering statistics” reflected how, in part, the economic turmoil affects the children of adults struggling financially.

The number of suicide prevention-related calls, where the counselor is talking to someone actively committing or contemplating suicide, has risen significantly as well.

“Our services are needed more than ever. We’re just thankful for our donors,” Yen said.

“A lot of volunteers come every year,” said Crisislink spokesperson Elizabeth Yen. “Some of them are specifically involved with related work to Crisislink, and many are supporters and friends of our staff.”

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Volunteer model Cheryl Price. (Photo: Danny Fowler)

The packed Outback Steakhouse enjoyed a fashion show put on by models wearing clothing provided by Judy Ryan of Fairfax, a women’s boutique located in the same Braddock Road shopping plaza. Attendees were given discount coupons for Judy Ryan’s boutique, which donates a certain percentage of the day’s profits to Crisislink.

“Funds we raise today go toward paying our phone bill for half the year,” said Yen, who estimated the fashion show and auction would raise near $5,000.

“We’re always ecstatic at the number of supporters who come to the fundraiser every year.”

Crisislink’s annual gala and largest fundraiser, LinkUp and Live, is slated for March 24, with special guests U.S. Representatives Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly. More information about the hotline is available online at www.crisislink.org, and the gala at www.LinkUpandLive.org. The Crisislink emergency phone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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