The failing economy is leading to a spike in calls to Massachusetts-area suicide hotlines, experts told the Boston Herald.

The Samaritans Inc.'s suicide and depression hotline took 11,000 calls statewide last month, a 31 percent increase over the 8,400 calls it took in February 2008.

Roberta Hurtig, executive director of The Samaritans Inc., told the Boston Herald that calls to the organization are up 5,500 overall this year compared to the first two months of last year.

“We have heard an increased level of anxiety because of people having lost their job, afraid of losing their jobs and concerned about being able to take care of families,” Hurtig told the paper.

She says people are anxious about losing their jobs, or have already lost their jobs and are concerned about the ability to take care of their family.

Debbie Helms, director of The Samaritans of Merrimack Valley, says the number of first time callers is up 75 percent.

Click here for more on this story from the Boston Herald.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.