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988: The Expansion of Lifeline’s Suicide Hotline

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988: The Expansion of Lifeline’s Suicide Hotline


Nicole Smith-Vaniz


June 8, 2022


 


988 Hotline Emerges


While emergency response for bodily illnesses has been readily available for decades, mental health has been put on the back burner until recently. Adapting to The Movement for Global Mental Health, America is ready to roll forward with the next big step in suicide preventiona three-digit suicide hotline. Mirroring 911, 988 is a new dialing code routing citizens to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Starting July 16th of 2022, 988 will be launched, enhancing mental healthcare by providing citizens with accessible trained counselors. This is especially important as access to a licensed therapist has been limited due to the pandemic. For the past two years, it has become increasingly difficult for therapists to accept new clients and many have even filled their waitlists. Unsurprisingly, the World Health Organization released a statement asserting that global anxiety and depression have increased 25 percent within the first year of the pandemic. With the expanding impact of mental illnesses, it is only fitting that the United States should provide the proper resources to combat this trend.


How Can You Help?


            Your potential impact, even on an individual scale, is significant. Many local crisis centers need volunteers and paid employees to aid in answering calls and chat messages. These centers provide training to individuals, so it is possible for anyone, regardless of background, to help if they choose to. If you would like to contribute to the cause, please see this list of available employment/volunteer opportunities: samhsa.gov/988-jobs


            A donation is also an effective option in aiding Lifeline. Lifeline operates on funds from state and local contributors, and many of Lifeline’s crisis centers require more funding to continue supporting their communities. Lifeline allocates its funds to mobile services for responding to calls and messages. Additionally, Lifeline needs resources to fund counselor training and share the best practices with mental health professionals. To support your local crisis center directly, you may contact them via their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/our-crisis-centers/ To contribute to the overarching program, you may donate here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/donate/


There is no health without mental health. Please consider doing your part. You alone can make a difference.


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