Medicine: Cries for Help

Nowhere in the world is suicide, or the threat of suicide, taken more seriously than in Los Angeles. Though several U.S. cities have first-aid stations for those seeking help to save themselves from self-destruction, only Los Angeles has a full-fledged Suicide Prevention Center.

Financed by the National Institutes of Health to the tune of $100,000 a year, the S.P.C. keeps a staff of eight constantly on the alert. Its telephone (CApitol 5-2388) jangles on an average of 2,500 times a year, often with calls from people reporting that a relative or friend—usually meaning the caller himself—is contemplating suicide. At least nine times...

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