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Apr 27, 2023Back to Veoci Blog
In the United States, 911 is a number that is instilled into us as soon as we can speak. We know that if anything were to happen, when we press those three numbers in that order, we will be put into contact with someone who is going to do everything in their power to get us the help we need.
Our society’s stance on mental health has recently taken a shift in a positive direction. Though there is undeniably still work to be done, there have been clear steps to make sure that citizens are aware of, and have access to help. Even still, too many people have suicide crises or mental related distress without the immediate support and care that they both need and deserve.
To address this, as of July 16, 2022, the new nationwide number for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is 988. Any calls or texts sent to 988 are routed to one of the over 200 crisis centers all over the country and free and confidential help and support is offered. Additionally, there is a chat feature that can be used if you go to 988lifeline.org.
This Lifeline was created for anyone experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. Veterans can also press “1” after dialing 988 to connect to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline (VCL), and for texts, they should continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline code: 838255. This number is also available to anyone who might be worried about a loved one.
The Lifeline initiative has already proven to be impactful. In February 2023 alone, 346,224 calls were routed to 988. From February 2022 to February 2023 the average speed to answer across all contacts decreased from 192 seconds to 35 seconds, with the amount of total calls answered increasing by 48%. Further implementation means more citizens aided.
Implementing 988 has always been an initiative that positively impacts lives across the country, but often the cost of actually executing became a hurdle that seemed impossible to clear. Now however, there are several federal resources to be tapped to allow for implementation. If this sounds like a hurdle you have been facing, click here for direct links, examples and further information.
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