Health Department opens crisis center in Little Rock

(AP) _ Arkansas residents calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will now be able to talk to crisis intervention workers in the state.The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the call center opened in Little Rock last month after lawmakers passed legislation requiring a suicide hotline center within the Arkansas Health Department. The center was officially unveiled Tuesday.

Before the opening, Arkansas was one of only two states rerouting calls to hotline centers in other states. Advocates said the situation prolonged wait times and prevented vulnerable callers from finding local resources.

Health Department Director Nate Smith says the center has answered 900 calls in its first month and is part of a network of over 150 centers connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Department data show suicide is the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas.

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