(CBS/AP) U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveiled the country’s new National Strategy for Suicide Prevention on Monday. The new guidelines from the Obama administration focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans, by methods such as beefing up the nation’s crisis hotline to help.
U.S. health officials said nearly 100 people every day commit suicide, and many more attempt it. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. with rates doubling those of lives taken by homicide. The military in particular has seen an alarming increase in suicides this year.
The federal government announced Monday it will boost staff by 50 percent at the national hotline – 1-800-273-TALK – which is open to military and civilians alike. It provided $55.6 million for state and local programs, and highlighted Facebook features that link distressed users to counselors.
According to the report, suicide can affect anyone but certain populations are at increased risk including individuals with mental and substance abuse disorders, individuals in justice and child welfare settings, LGBT individuals, American Indians and Alaska Natives, men in midlife and older men, and members and veterans of the Armed Forces.