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Help offered when holiday struggles mount
Hotlines available for domestic violence, mental health concerns
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Hotlines

For those needing help with domestic violence:

• Gateway Domestic Violence Center 24-hour hotline, 770-536-5860

For those needing help for suicidal thoughts:

• National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255

Compared to the rest of the year, the holiday week usually generates fewer first-time calls from domestic violence victims and fewer people seeking shelter, said Jessica Butler, director of the Gateway Domestic Violence Center.

“We think it’s because women are wanting to try to stay in their homes and create as normal of a holiday as they can,” Butler said.

After the holiday, however, is when the Gainesville center begins to see an uptick in calls.

“We always want to let people know about our services and how they can reach us, because we know domestic violence doesn’t go away during the holidays,” she said.

For those experiencing domestic violence or know someone being abused, the center offers a 24-hour hotline at 770-536-5860. Those looking to help can also donate needed items to the shelter — items such as batteries, cleaning supplies and beddings — by visiting Gateway’s thrift stores. More information is available at gatewaydvcenter.org.

Mental health problems can also spike during the holidays. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said the department has recorded 18 suicides in 2016, four of those in November.

“This is a tragedy that affects families from all socioeconomic backgrounds across our community,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news release. “No family is immune, and those touched by it are everywhere among us.”

Authorities advise residents to pay attention to loved ones’ behaviors, including isolation, depression and reckless behavior. Other behaviors included calling people to say goodbye and “giving away prized possessions,” according to the announcement.

“People who are considering suicide often display depression, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation, or anxiety,” according to the release.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Further information can be found on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website at afsp.org.

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