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Friday, January 27, 2012

How is a Person Supposed to Get Help?

Today's posting is a vent, rather than advice. Today I responded to a voicemail message from a prospect who said she wants to write a book. I called her back, and she revealed some personal issues about which she wanted to write, and then she broke down and said she can't stop herself from doing the same things over and over, and she wants to commit suicide. She said she had thought about it for a couple of days, and she explained that she even figured out that her mother could raise her daughter, thereby keeping the daughter out of the foster-care system.

I spent more than an hour listening to and talking to the woman, doing my best to tell her to get some help. She said she was a veteran and had called the VA hospital, but her doctor was busy and had not called back.

I tried to get her address, but was unsuccessful. I at least had her number, and she told me the area/city in Metro Atlanta where she lives. When she hung up, I looked online and found a crisis line for veterans and called it. Unbelievably, I was put on hold. When someone finally answered, I explained the situation, and the man asked if the woman had made any plans. I said she revealed that she had a plan to keep her two-year-old daughter out of the system.


He said, "You need to hang up and call 911 right now."

I called 911 and was asked where I was calling from, so I told the dispatcher, but said I was calling about a suicidal woman who lived in Duluth. I was put on hold for a full minute and then someone answered. I explained the situation and was told I had reached the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport Police! Why on earth was I switched to the airport police?

Anyway, that person explained that I needed to call the Duluth police and said to hold while she got that number. I held for another full minute (thinking the woman who called me could be dead by this time), and then was given another phone number.

I called that number, and a little girl answered. I could barely understand her. She sounded 12 years old at the most. I said, "Is this a police department?"

"Yes," the little voice said.

I told the person (who I trust is older than she sounds) that I had received a business call, but while we were talking, the woman said she was in crisis and wanted to commit suicide. I explained that I had only her name and phone number, and I gave both to the woman on the phone.

She said, "Do you have her address?"

"I just said, I have only her number, but someone can call her to get her address."

"Do you have her name?"

"I just gave you her name. It's [repeated first and last name again]."

She asked, "Why did she call you?"

I said, "I said it was a business call, but she revealed that she was contemplating suicide, and I want someone to find her and help her right away. We are wasting time here."

"What's your name?"

"Bobbie Christmas."

"What's your number?"

I gave it.

She said, "We'll see what we can do, but we don't have her address..."
I asked, "Can't someone call and ask her for her address? Is anything going to be done?"

"We'll see what we can do. Thank you for calling."

"What's your name, please?" I asked.

Bzzz...I got a dialtone. She had hung up.

I can only hope that the woman in crisis got help today. I did what I could do. I'll always wonder what more I could have done.