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    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

      If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text:

      9-8-8
      (24/7, free & confidential)

      Or chat with a crisis counselor:
      Chat Now

      Peer-to-peer support for teens
      (Teen Line)
      800-852-8336
      6pm-10pm PST

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      For mental health or substance use services, call intake:

      LA County:
      888-807-7250

      Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:00pm

    • Crisis Counseling

      If you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, made a suicide attempt, or lost someone to suicide, we provide healing during and through your crisis.

      Get Help Today

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  • Client Info
  • Donate
  • Get Help Now
    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

      If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text:

      9-8-8
      (24/7, free & confidential)

      Or chat with a crisis counselor:
      Chat Now

      Peer-to-peer support for teens
      (Teen Line)
      800-852-8336
      6pm-10pm PST

    • Get Services

      For mental health or substance use services, call intake:

      LA County:
      888-807-7250

      Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:00pm

    • Crisis Counseling

      If you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, made a suicide attempt, or lost someone to suicide, we provide healing during and through your crisis.

      Get Help Today

Planting Seeds of Hope: Janet Bensusen’s Legacy 

Janet Bensusen, lovingly known as “Jan” to her colleagues at Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center, was described as a go-getter, a real people person. She began working for the Suicide Prevention Center as a Shift Supervisor in March of 1979. 

Volunteers with the Suicide Prevention Center often hear that this line of work is not for the faint of heart. 

“The reason why so many people stick with this work is because of the very direct validation that we get [from this work],” said Sandri Kramer, Director of Community Relations at Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center.

“So often by the end of the call, you can hear the change in their voice. Your work means something – It’s a very intrinsic satisfaction. It really takes a level of stamina, and it has to come from somewhere.” 

For Jan, her work was deeply personal and interconnected. Jan was born in 1932 and from a very early age began forming who she was, as her daughter recalls. By the time she was in her early 20s, she was studying at the LA School of Design. She moved to New York shortly after with her husband and young daughter to begin making their life. While navigating adulthood, Jan was open about her struggles with depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Seeking treatment when there was a heavy stigma around these topics ignited her passion for mental health. 

Upon moving back to California in the 1970s, Jan began working with the Suicide Prevention Center. She lived in Laguna Beach and would commute two nights a week to LA to work the night shift from 10 PM – 4 AM. The relationships she cultivated while at Didi Hirsch became an integral part of her life. She always made the extra effort to take care of her team, making sure their cups were full so they could do their best for the people they were helping.  

Jan went on to retire in September of 2006 after 27 years of service. She passed away in April of 2023 and named Didi Hirsch as a beneficiary as part of her estate. 

Jan’s approach to her work personified human empathy and understanding. Her legacy continues to provide hope and light where there is darkness for clients of Didi Hirsch. 

To learn more about how you can make an impact with estate planning, reach out to Robin Hyerstay, Director of Development at (310) 751-5315 or rhyerstay@didihirsch.org. 

 

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