Crisis Center of Tampa Bay receives record number of suicidal calls

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Feeling those post-holiday blues? You’re not alone.

As the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve, folks welcomed 2020. Each year, that day on the calendar represents a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate.

But, just a few days into the new year, crisis and chaos came calling in Tampa Bay.

People were feeling overwhelmed. They reported severe depression. Sadly, some had plans to take their own lives, compelled to carry out suicidal thoughts.

It happened just a few days into the new year, in fact.

For many, Jan. 6 proved to be an intense, emotional day for nearly hundreds of people, as they contacted the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay for help.

On that day, 600 calls came in one right after the other. The agency’s 211 hotline was busier than ever with record spike in callers.

“Folks tell us making that call was one of the hardest things to do, but they also say, they’re so glad they did, ” said Clara Reynolds, CEO at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

The number one thing counselors told callers that day?

You are needed.

“The world is not going to be better off without out, your family needs you, your community needs you, your friends need you, your neighbors need you,” Clara told us.

8 on your Side wanted to know, why that day? Why January 6th? Why the spike?

Turns out, it’s a perfect storm.

The holidays are over, the bills are coming in from Christmas shopping, you’re back to work and your kids are back to school. The merriment of the holiday season is officially over.

Derek Waters was there that day, taking calls. He says listening is the most important part of what the crisis center does.

“Sometimes people need to vent,” he said.

And, the post-holiday blues, he says, are very real.

“Everyone’s happy, everybody’s home, everybody is okay. Then, it’s back to real life,” he told 8 on your Side.

One call, in particular, stands out in his mind when a man called ready to commit suicide. Derek says the gentleman had given up, and the phone call was the last cry for help.

Derek would help save his life.

“Together, we were able to talk about the good things…. that was enough for him to keep going,” Derek said.

If you or someone you love is battling depression or thoughts of suicide, help is always available by calling the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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