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Calls to Tempe hotline increase after suicides of Spade, Bourdain

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PHOENIX — The number of calls to a Tempe-based suicide hotline have increased following the suicides of two high-profile celebrities, fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

Sarah Schol, the senior director of contact center operations with the Crisis Response Network, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that there have been a “noticeable increase” in calls made to the network since last Wednesday, the day after Spade was found dead in her New York apartment.

“We have seen an increase in calls in the last week,” Schol said.

“It’s difficult to tell numbers because it fluctuates so much. The beginning of the month is busier than the end of the month.”

The Crisis Response Network is a 24-7 crisis call center that takes calls from across Arizona. The network aims to connect callers with the resources they need to get help or treatment, Schol said.

Schol said it is hard to determine whether those calls were directly tied to the deaths of Spade and Bourdain, as some callers do not always disclose the reasoning for their calls. But she added that the number of calls tend to increase with the amount their number is displayed.

“These are heavy emotions for people to be processing,” she said.

“If someone has concerns for a loved one, that can be the factor that starts that dialogue. It prompts people to reach out for help when maybe they wouldn’t have before.”

Schol encouraged anyone who is feeling depressed or overwhelmed by the news or is struggling with suicidal thoughts to call the Crisis Response Network at 602-222-9444.

Editor’s note: Anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 800-273-8255.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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