Candles Flicker Outside Capitol in Push for New Suicide Prevention Hotline

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Each blinking light, represents a life cut too short.

"It is something we can control," says Lori King. "It's impacted by life a great deal."

King's son was 18-years-old when he died from suicide about three years ago.

"Even though we're minus one, I am one of those people who if you ask if I have children, I will tell you yes. I have three, I have two girls and one boy who is in heaven," she says.

On a Thursday night, when families remember loved ones on the steps of the State Capitol, there's a mission inside for hope outside.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Board Member Tyler West says Arkansans need to be taking care of Arkansans.

A bill filed this week would create a new call center in Arkansas.

"They need to be connected with resources that are here in Arkansas and they may not know exactly what those resources are," says West.

West says 11,000 Arkansans call the national Lifeline every year.

"Local call centers are the most effective tool against the mortality rates of suicide," says West.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 571 Arkansans died by suicide in 2015, and 108 of those were veterans.

"I think that means our state cares," says King.

Her white bag on the steps of the State Capitol means so much to her.

"They don't know where to turn, or what to do," she says.

King hopes come next year, she sees fewer flickering lights outside the State Capitol.

"I think he drives me to do that. That is my new purpose since he is gone," says King.

The bill was filed by Representative Bob Johnson from Pulaski County.

If it's approved, the call center would be fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with seven full-time employees.


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