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Crisis Services Creates Hot Line for At-Risk Kids

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Crisis Services in Buffalo says children and adolescents are considering suicide at "alarming rates." This is National Suicide Prevention Week. Crisis Services is focusing on the youth at risk for suicide.

Crisis Services says youth are espeicially at risk for suicide. It is the 4th leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 14.

Crisis Services has established a "Kids Help Line" designed for children who are feeling suicidal. Dr. Bruce Miller, chief of Child and Adolescent psychiatry at Children's Hospital, says parents must be alert to what children are saying.

"Those words may be telling. When a child says things like it doesn't matter, what's the use, I don't care, or I can't do anything about it, those are signals that the child is struggling beyond their means," Miller said. "So, pay attention."

Crisis Services is launching public service TV ads focusing on children. Since the events of 9/11, the agency's executive director Douglas Fabian says incoming suicide prevention calls increased about 35-percent.

"We have a sense that while the rest of the country is beginning to recover from 9/11, and I think we are too, the social and economic crisis that our region is in, keeps those darn phone calls coming in," Fabian said.

The kids help line at 834-1144 is a confidential service, manned 24/7. Crisis Services is also creating an interactive Web site for adolescents that's expected to be ready in a couple of months.

The agency also offers help to children dealing with other issues like peer pressure, violence, eating disorders and self-esteem.