Spike In Calls To Suicide Hotline Following Trump Victory

While the votes were being tallied and it became more and more clear on Tuesday night, to the early-morning hours of Wednesday, that Trump would win, it was also clear that people were scared for their rights and their safety, as well as for the future of their children. The panic became evident when between the hours of 1 and 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline rang 660 times. Many callers were close to or thinking about taking their lives.

The Washington Post states that it was an “unprecedented volume for that hour on a Wednesday,” and two and half times the average. Often the hotline receives a higher volume of calls due to people simply being stressed and anxious about elections, but as the publication states, this time the calls were made by Americans that shared a fear that has been unmatched in the history of the hotline.

“We didn’t see numbers like this in 2008 or 2012,” Lifeline director John Draper told the Washington Post. “This was an extraordinary year by any stretch of the imagination.”

It was not only the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that experienced a rise in volume. Steve Mendelsohn, who is the deputy executive director of the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LBGTQ youths, went to bed ahead of learning the results of the election. He was aware that getting to the office early the next day was imperative and that he would need to get extra help to take calls that he learned were already streaming in.

Even hours following Trump’s speech and Clinton’s humble congratulations to the controversial president-elect, the calls continued to flood in. Mendelsohn shares that between the times of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, their usual average had more than doubled and almost all calls were regarding the election.

“We have made so much progress over the past few years, and there’s a fear that we’re going backward and that LGBTQ people are going to lose their rights. Young people are worried about their futures,” he said. The most recent time that the Trevor Project saw a spike in calls like this was following the Orlando massacre at Pulse nightclub.

The Crisis Text Line saw individuals pleading for help doubling in the 24 hours following the victory by Trump. As the publication shares, more than 2,000 people reached out to the text hotline using the terms “election” and “scared.” Often the later of the two was associated with “LGBTQ.”

At Trans Lifeline, which is a hotline that launched only two years ago for transgender people, and is also staffed by trans people, the phones began ringing more frequently after 10 p.m. on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the hotline had received more than 500 calls, which were, at times, too much to handle.

“Trans people face very real harassment and discrimination, and I think a lot of people had very much hoped it would get better,” Greta Martela, co-founder and executive director of Trans Lifeline, said. “It’s very hard to believe it will get better in the next four years, which is a very long time to wait.”

Following same-sex marriage being legalized across the country, focus has been on the rights of people who identify as being transgender. President Obama has worked endlessly to provide guidance to schools nationwide to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that conform to the gender to which they identify, rather than their biological sex.

Although Trump himself does not oppose the efforts of Obama, the publication relays the worries of those who belong to the transgender community.

“Trump has said in the past that he believes transgender people should be able to use the bathroom of their choice, but many in the party he now leads disagree, and there remains a fear that his picks to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court could work to strip away protections for LGBTQ people.”

[Featured Image by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images]