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Crisis hotline service in need of volunteers

Date Posted: 2010-06-03

With suicides on the increase in Okinawa, the Telephone Life Line of Okinawa is looking for volunteer counselors.

Okinawa Life Line officials are concerned lives could be lost if they don’t have enough volunteers to man the phone lines and talk with distraught callers. Hiroji Hamahata, the Okinawa Life Line director, says “we need at least 200 volunteers in our office, because just one phone conversation can save somebody’s life.” Hamahata says “we have two telephones, but can’t give advice except one phone at a time because we don’t have enough volunteers.”

Hamahata says the problem is critical. “People can’t wait. There are many attempted suicides, and already this year more than 400 people in Okinawa have committed suicide. We need more people who can talk to callers and help them.” He says people are saying “Please listen to me. I’ve lost my job and the company fired me. Help me,” and “I have a problem with my friends; a relationship has something wrong, help me,” and “no one loves me and nobody listens to me.”

The Telephone Life Line of Okinawa says it has fielded calls in hundreds of cases, with people 40 years of age and older accounting for 213 cases. Another 124 cases involved people between 20 and 30, while 102 cases came from people in the 50~60 years of age range.

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