Mental health hotline in Springfield reports increase in calls following death of Naomi Judd

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The suicide of singer Naomi Judd is leading to an increase in calls to mental health hotlines.

Executive Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, Stephanie Appleby, says not only are more people coming in for counselling, but their warm line answers twice as many calls from people needing help.

“While you may have everything, money, cars, friends, all of these things, be a celebrity, it’s still very real that hurt,” Appleby says. “A lot of people are hiding it.”

Appleby says when a celebrity dies by suicide, there are concerns over people following.

Volunteers for the warm line say they are prepared to answer the increased number of calls.

“Just being diligent with those phone calls,” Appleby says. “Paying attention to the warning signs and handing that information off to the correct suicide prevention line. We are a peer support warm line.”

The warm line is a step down from a crisis line.

But if someone is in crisis.

“What we normally do is hand off that call,” Appleby says. “We will call the prevention line and hook those individuals up together so that there’s no gap in services.”

Roy Herzog has worked on the warm line for the last two years.

Because all workers have their own diagnosed mental illnesses, Herzog says it creates a judgment-free environment.

“I like to put myself kind of in their situation because I want to be able to help people with something they’re dealing with, and people will call about all kinds of stuff,” Herzog says. “It’s basically a cope line.”

Although it has its challenges, Herzog says it also helps him get the support he needs by offering it to others.

“It teaches me patience,” Herzog says. “It teaches me understanding. It teaches me how to maybe get through something that I’m dealing with.”

Appleby says that when people are diagnosed with a mental health condition, it can take them 11 years to seek treatment.

“I know we have all heard to be kind to everyone because you never know what battles they’re fighting in their own minds,” Appleby says. “I think it’s important to remember how sensitive the subject is and how important it is to break the stigma so individuals can get the help they need and deserve.”

The warm line is entirely confidential and anonymous.

It’s open every day from 9 am to 9 pm, and the number is 417-864-3676 or 1-877-535-4357.

If you are in a crisis, you can call the suicide hotline at (800) 273-TALK or (800) SUICIDE.

You can also text HOME to the number 741741.

More information on the NAMI services provides can be found here.

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