Mental health help calls spike in Jeffco

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LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) -- Phone calls from people reaching out for mental health services have spiked in Jefferson County since the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, prompting mental health official to offer free drop-in counseling.

Jefferson Center for Mental Health opened crisis counseling centers Monday in Wheat Ridge and in Littleton, which dealt with the Columbine High School shootings 13 years ago. Free drop-in counseling will also be available Tuesday night at two locations.

Center spokeswoman Jeanne Oliver says phone calls to the county's mental health centers spiked over the weekend and into Monday.

Oliver says the similarities in shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary have the potential to re-traumatize those who were affected by the Columbine shootings in 1999 that killed 12 students, and a teacher. Two teenage gunmen committed suicide after the slayings.

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