Budget Axe Could Spell The End for Good Samaritans

Budget cuts threaten to end suicide lines long run.

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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 26: A headset hangs on a cubical wall after the last telemarketing shift at Spectrum Marketing Services, Inc. September 26, 2003 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Spectrum Marketing Services, Inc., which had been in business since 1974, and as of January 2003 employed 125 people, was forced to close it's doors due to the Do Not Call Registry. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

    The budget cuts just keep coming and this time it may affect the most vulnerable of victims.

    The Samaritans of New York a non-religious, non-partisan volunteer organization could be the next victim of the budget axe, officials said.

    The Samaritans  one of the city’s two 24-hour suicide prevention hotlines and has been in operation for over two decades, and the organization handled 65,000 calls last year, according to Director of Operations for the Samaritans, Fiodhna O’Grady.

    But the budget axe could kill the organization's funding if the New York City Health Department does not find a way to prevent a $250,000 cut.

    “It's a major mistake that will literally cost this city money, precious free resources and -- most important -- people's lives," O'Grady emphatically told the New York City Council,

    A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, Marc LaVorgna, told the New York Post, that LifeNet, the other 24-hour hot line, could pick up the slack.

    Officials, however, note that LifeNet is just an information and referral service, not intensive counseling like the Samaritans offer.

    Samaritans provides training and consultations to over 30,000 students, parents, police, EMS and teachers throughout its operation.