Help For Those At A Breaking Point - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Help For Those At A Breaking Point

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Can one phone call save a life? Most definitely. 

Could a phone call or an email or a text for that matter have helped John Zawahri, the Santa Monica shooter who snapped, killed his father , brother, three other innocents and then died himself in a gun battle with police?   The answer is most likely a resounding yes. 

There are national , local, private, all kinds of crisis hotlines. If you reach out for help, you'll get it, without being judged, without (most of the time) being turned over to police.  The facility I visited today, run by the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, gets more than 50,000 calls a year!  And that's just one organization.  

The most common calls have to do with suicidal thoughts, then mental illness, even financial stress.   They ‘'de-escalate'' the caller's crisis and provide what they say is a warm, safe, non-judgmental environment, to get the person calmed down, so they can make a plan and can be referred to the appropriate place or person or resource to get help. 

It doesn't matter who you are, what your problem is, whether you can pay, any of that. You could imagine if John Zawahri had done it, or if his mother had done it on his behalf. Maybe his family, himself,  the Francos and the woman collecting cans at the College , Margarita Gomez, would still be with us.  

We'll never know, but by making people aware of all the help available, perhaps we can save the next person from going over the edge and taking too many innocent victims with him.

The crisis hotline at Didi Hirsch is 877 7-CRISIS and it's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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