Punks Against Suicide

Punks Against Suicide

takeactionlogoA score of punk rock and hardcore bands are touring the country to raise awareness and much-needed cash for the teen suicide hotline, 1-800-Suicide and its parent organization, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. The list of achievements born of this collaboration, after five years — and five tours — is impressive.

Since 2001, the Take Action Tour and the National Hopeline Network have teamed up and thanks to the petition drives and fundraising, suicide and the mental health challenges that lead to suicide have gained national attention in the halls of government. Impassioned politicians, like Congressman Patrick Kennedy, joined together with riveted punk rockers and concerned citizens for a press conference on Capitol Hill this month to demand the government fully fund and support suicide prevention efforts in the US.

Take Action Tour Accomplishments

Since the Take Action Tour began there has been a 5% reduction of suicide in the US. Funding for prevention programs went from zero to 16 million dollars. And, calls to 1-800-Suicide went from 36,000 annually to 478,642.

100,000 signatures have been gathered, 40,000 on petitions lobbying for full funding of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (16 million was appropriated) and passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act. 4,000 suicidal callers have been rescued in medical emergencies.

70-80 people die by suicide every day, more than 30,000 per year and it is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24, the majority of whom have undiagnosed and untreated behavioral health disorders. Three new programs extend outreach to specific communities and redirect calls to the nearest crisis centers: The Grad Help Line is on college campuses, at 1-800-GRADHLP; and the newest program, 1-800-COPLINE, premiered after two officers died by suicide in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The shocking statistic: Cops die by their own hand 8 times more often than while in the line of duty. For Spanish speakers, Hopeline launched a web site, www.suicida.org and hotline 1-800-SUICIDA, answering calls in Spanish 24 x 7, the first resource of its kind in the US. Their web site touts that funding from the Take Action Tour made much of this possible.

The fifth annual SubCity Records tour (presented in 2006 by retailer Hot Topic) features headliner Matchbook Romance in a 49-city swing expected to reach more than 1,000,000 individuals. The tour kicked-off March 1st on the east coast and continues with a vigourous schedule through the month of April into the south and western US. The tour premiered at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, and today, three weeks later, decorative posters still hang in the hallways offering a “hand of hope” to young people who may not know where to turn in crisis. The posters are adorned with the easy to remember phone number and the promise that calls will be answered by their peers, young people trained to help.

For more information on the tour’s successes see www.preventsuicide.net

(link submitted by Contributior Tif Short)