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flymetothemoon
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Founder First US Suicide Hotline Passes Away
Bernard Mayes, an Anglican priest who started the first suicide hotline in the United States and who later became the founding chairman of National Public Radio, died on Oct. 23 in San Francisco. He was 85. Of all his varied endeavors — a journalist, a professor and a gay rights activist among other things — Mr. Mayes was most proud of San Francisco Suicide Prevention, the hotline he set up in 1961 with a single red telephone in the city’s gritty Tenderloin District. Today, Suicide Prevention statistics show that the city’s suicide rate is less than half what it was when the agency was founded. Hundreds of similar hotlines have since been set up in cities across the nation, and there is now a federally financed hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE, which receives tens of thousands of calls a month. Mayes had zero suicide prevention or counseling training, but he felt called to action. “I did feel that what was really needed was a compassionate ear, someone to talk to,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2012. “It occurred to me that we had to have some kind of service which would offer unconditional listening, and that I would be this anonymous ear.” Rest in peace, and thank you for all of your hard work :)
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