Helpline Center sees increase in callers - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Helpline Center sees increase in callers

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Tuesday we learned more about a standoff that ended with one man dead Monday night in Sioux Falls. It happened on the 6600 block of W 15th Place.

According to Attorney General Marty Jackley, 22-year-old Jacob Westberg was suicidal and officers made several negotiation attempts.

At least one shot was fired in the home before police arrived and one was heard after.

Police said Westberg pointed a rifle at officers and that's when a swat member shot him.

The officer who shot Westberg is on paid live while the DCI investigates.

Many people are asking how this situation could have accelerated so rapidly, ultimately ending in a lost life.

We spoke to Westberg's roommate who said he was not home at the time of the standoff. He said it all seems unreal -- he called Westberg a normal 22-year-old guy.

That's something suicide prevention counselors say happens more often than you think.

The Suicide and Crisis Support Director at the Helpline Center said suicide is very complex. Often times we see that last triggering event; however usually those people have been struggling for quite some time before they come to suicide as an option.

"If you can recognize when people are struggling and get them to connect to some help early on -- so if other people can be aware  of what are some warning signs -- is the person developing some kind of mental heath crisis then there are certainly things that are helpful that you can do so they don't have to get to that point where they're in the middle of a crisis," said Lori Montis, Suicide and Crisis Support Director.

The Helpline Center has already seen a 22% increase in phone calls this year -- that's 30 each week.

"Trained crisis staff answers those calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," said Montis.

One of the first things staff asks is if the caller is having thoughts of suicide. If so, they go into risk assessment and ultimately develop a plan for what needs to be done for them to stay safe.

Staff stay on the line anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours using de-escalation strategies.

"I think a lot of times for people it's just having that chance to talk to somebody to have that listening ear and that person who's willing to kind of help them maybe think things through and problem solve a bit and see what options they're are for them," said Montis.

If you are or know someone who is suicidal, you can call the Helpline Center by dialing 211.


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