Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Interview with Reese Butler

Do you have a secret you have never told anyone before. Would you like to share it now?

Two months before I met Kristin (Oct 1989) I tired to hang myself on my birthday in my closet. I was drunk and very depressed.
In retrospect I see Kristin as having been sent to me by a higher power to distract me from my own problems as I became her support for the next eight years.
I never again thought about killing myself until after her suicide.

Thanks for trusting us with that. Can you talk a bit about HopeLine, its mission and how it started?

After Kristin's suicide I received a check for her life insurance from her employer. I immediately recognized this was not my money but needed to be given to an organization that works to prevent suicides caused in part by postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis (which is what Kristin suffered from.)
Not only did I discover that in 1998 no one was working to prevent suicides in this area but no one was working to prevent suicide on a national level. So with a lot of support we started 1(800) SUICIDE.

I know HopeLine has always received strong support from many generous musicians. Can you talk about that and the new anti-suicide rap video by Seein Definate.

In the ten years the Hopeline has been around, music has played an important role. From Journey/Firefall performing and donating their performances in the first Reason To Live Concert in 1999 that put 1-800-SUICIDE on the map to the Take Action Tours that sold over 500,000 CD's, and 300,000 tickets to 7 tours.
One song was actually donated in terms of the publishing rights. This is powerful and meaningful as the author gave up his legal rights to any royalties. That was in 1999 and the song was Call on Me by Jock Bartley of Firefall.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Hopeline and the second song donated. Try Again a very poignant Hip Hop/Rap song donated by its author and performer Seein Definate.

(When you download this song 100% of the proceeds go to pay the 1-800-SUICIDE phone bill.)
Try Again - National Survivors of Suicide Day Nov. 22, 2008

I know that you have been struggling with the government for years over the independence of HopeLine. Can you give us an update?

The FCC which controls who gets to control and own 1-800-SUICIDE on Nov 14th gave us a 180 unprecedented extension. We are very hopeful that with the new administration justice will be done and the control of 1-800-SUICIDE will be returned to us permanently.

Do you have any brushes with fame?

I was heading into one of the Senate office building and Hillary Clinton was coming out. She was much shorter than I expected. It is funny because when you see someone that close in a normal situation you think to say hi Hillary like she knows you. You may know her but. . .
My best one is in 1999 when Journey played a benefit show for the Hopeline and on the last song they invited me up to play the drums with them. Totally unexpected and good thing as I would have been too nervous had it been planned. The fact I did not know the drums on this song, never played it etc. made it even worse. But it turned out ok and for Christmas Jonathan Cain of Journey sent me the DAT tape of the song.

I have answered HopeLine phones and know first-hand the good work your organization does first hand. What can others do if they want to get involved and help?

Get trained as an online crisis line worker, answer emails, chats, phone calls from the Hopeline Network. Also help us raise money or support those who are raising money to pay for these services. has links to both opportunities.
Call 1(800)SUICIDE [1-800-784-2433] for help, day or night.

(i'm sure you all have already read this on Franks blog, But I love it so much & admire Reese Butler so much I wanted to post this here, I also have the 1 800 SUICIDE details in one of the MIS blogs on myspace)

- dani