Calls to local crisis line have doubled since news of Robin Williams’ suicide

OPB News, August 15, 2014


Calls to a Portland suicide prevention line have doubled since the death of Robin Williams.

Deaths by suicide happen all the time in Oregon. Last year, 700 people took their lives — that’s five times as many as died from homicide.

But Tom Parker with Lines for Life, says there’s something about the performer’s comic personality that’s prompted people to call. People think, “here’s a guy who has it all and he makes us laugh and we love him and how can he not see that,” he said.

“And then,” he adds, ” you go to the next fact: that is, wow, if it’s that way for Robin Williams what about my cousin Mary who just seems to be in a funk lately. What do I do for her, or my co-worker or my best friend who’s suddenly saying, ‘Hey you know I’m kind of a burden to people or I’m not going to be available,’ that kind of thing.”

Parker says that if you suspect someone is considering suicide, you should talk to him or her about it and suggest ways to get help.

The day before Williams took his life, the national group Lifeline answered 3,000 calls involving suicide. The day after the performer’s death, Lifeline dealt with its highest volume ever  — 7,000 calls.

Need help? Call the Multnomah County Call Center, 503-988-4888, 24/7.