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Samaritans of New York Targets Service Industry
Date:12/21/2009

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Samaritans of New York is providing resources that could save people's lives to more than 250 NYC hotels, bars, department stores and health clubs to help staffers identify and respond to customers who are in crisis and may be suicidal over the holiday season.

The non-religious, non-profit Samaritans, a local branch of the world's largest suicide prevention network, has compiled a plain language (user-friendly and easy-to-understand) resource kit for people in the service industry who will come in contact with tens of thousands of visitors this holiday season. It includes guidelines on identifying and interacting with people who could be in crisis, statistics on suicide and information about the resources available to help someone whether they are a visitor to NYC or a local resident.

"Mental health workers and educators are given many more resources than people working in the service industry or in corporate America," said Alan Ross, executive director of The Samaritans of New York. "This campaign, which is funded by the NYS Office of Mental Health as part of Commissioner Michael Hogan's emphasis on decreasing the number of suicides throughout the state, targets the employees of NYC establishments who provide services to, literally, millions of people - a percentage of whom are at risk for suicide."

The current economy and the high unemployment rate have contributed to an increase in the overall number of suicides in the US, most notably in middle-age men. The Samaritans confidential 24-hour suicide prevention hotline has expanded its coverage for the holiday season in response to these increases and new research suggesting "a strong relationship between unemployment, the economy and suicide.(1)"

"A significant number of attempted suicides in NYC are committed by out-of-town guests and tourists," explained Ross. "By targeting local businesses with employees who come in c
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SOURCE The Samaritans of New York
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