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SEPTA Shining Brighter Spotlight On Suicide Prevention

By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- Septa, the regional transit agency, is teaming up with a crisis response center and the Montgomery County government in an effort to prevent suicides.

To help mark National Suicide Prevention Week, Septa is now installing signs at the boarding areas of the Norristown Transportation Center, highlighting the number for a suicide prevention hotline.

Along with the recent high-profile suicide of actor Robin Williams, two suburban Philadelphia police officers have taken their own lives just in the past couple of weeks, and Septa says about half of the fatalities on its rail system each year are ruled suicides -- about seven a year over the past three years.

"Research has shown that medications and therapies can be effective in preventing suicide, and it's also shown that through education and public awareness we can decrease the rates of suicide," said Montgomery County commissioner and Septa board member Leslie Richards today.

Gabriel Nathan, of the nonprofit Montgomery County Emergency Service, says the lifeline is critical for people who believe they are out of options.

Septa plans to roll out the signs systemwide over the next year.  The hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK.

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