Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Two Handed Policy Keeps

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for encouraging "Desperate in the U.S.A." to contact the nearest suicide hotline. "Desperate's" friends should take his or her feelings seriously. In one poll, 7 percent of youth under 25 acknowledged having made at least one suicide attempt.

As you point out, there are many suicide crisis lines in the country offering free crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Our Suicide Prevention Center, the oldest in the country, receives more than 17,000 calls annually. Please let your readers know they will automatically be linked to the closest available accredited suicide hotline by calling The National Hopeline Network's toll-free access number: (800) SUICIDE (784-2433). -- KITA S. CURRY, PH.D., PRESIDENT, DIDI HIRSCH COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, CULVER CITY, CALIF.

DEAR DR. CURRY: Thank you for the valuable input. Readers, if you or anyone you know suffers from depression, this is a phone number that just may come in handy. The urge to end it all is something that can strike people of all ages -- not just teens.