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USFK launches suicide-prevention call line

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 19, 2013

SEOUL — U.S. Forces Korea has launched a confidential 24-hour Suicide Crisis Intervention Life Line that connects callers to New York-based mental health professionals.

To call the hotline, those in South Korea can dial 118 from a DSN phone or 0808-555-118 from a commercial line free of charge. A live internet-based chat service is also available.

Callers are connected a call center staffed by Veteran’s Affairs employees. If needed, the call center can reach the Joint Police Information Center at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan to make sure emergency care reaches the caller.

The 118 hotline has already been launched in Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan.

While USFK does not track suicide statistics for all SOFA-status personnel, the command said that among active duty personnel, there were two suicides in 2012 and one so far in 2013. According to USFK, its suicide rate has remained lower than both the Army and Department of Defense rates since 2001, and has continued to drop since 2009.

In 2012, USFK’s suicide rate was 7 per 100,000, compared with the DOD suicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000.

news@stripes.com

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