The number of calls to the Taipei Lifeline Association has not increased during the current political instability, but the crisis was affecting the concerns of those who were using the service, the association reported yesterday.
During yesterday's opening of their new headquarters, the association released figures from their 2003 work schedule.
The annual report showed that most users of its e-mail counseling service last year were between the ages of 20 and 35, whereas most telephone users were 35 or older.
"We also had a high number of people calling about unemployment last year," said Chu Kai-yu (
When asked about the effects of current events, Chu said: "We have not had a greater volume of calls. However, a majority of the calls since the election has been about related concerns.
"Many recent callers are facing a crisis of confidence. They feel insecure because their confidence in things has been challenged. The current decline in the stock market doesn't help matters," Chu said.
Chu further suggested that people feeling unacceptable levels of stress because of recent events should not watch televised newscasts and instead seek professional help from organizations such as Lifeline.
"Since this is such a sensitive issue, your friends might not be a good sounding-board for your concerns, especially since they might have different opinions on matters," Chu said.
The association also introduced its new "e-SOS" emergency-response system to assembled media representatives.
"With our new system we can reduce the amount of time needed to identify a person who may commit suicide and send help within 10 minutes," association representatives said.
They said that under the old system of data collection, all research and call logs were recorded on paper, making it difficult for volunteer counselors to find relevant information and contact local authorities quickly.
The association's e-SOS system and its new headquarters have been supported by various organizations, including the Northern Taipei Rotary Club, Philip Morris International and Acer.
Taipei Lifeline Association encourages people in need to call their hotline at (02) 2505-9595. For English-language assistance, an e-mail service is also available at www.lifeline.org.tw/EmailConsult/Authorization.asp.
More information about the association can be located on its Web site, www.sos.org.tw/index.htm.
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