As we strive to support our loved ones and our communities, a tough reality we have to face is that that support may simply not be enough when a person is in crisis. We can strive to be folks that people feel comfortable confiding in, but at the end of the day, for a multitude of reasons, the peer, friend, or loved one that you are certain would come to you in a crisis, may not, and if they do, we may not always know of the resources that can help. That is why it is so important that crisis services in this country evolve to reach and support as many people as possible. The introduction of 988, the three digit phone number that connects you directly to the suicide and crisis lifeline via call, text, or chat, is an easy to remember link to critical support for folks during times of crisis and a leap in the right direction of the expansion of access to crisis services. You can also utilize 988 services if you are worried that a friend or loved one is in a crisis. Too often in times of mental health crisis folks turn to the authorities, and while there are certainly emergent situations where contacting 911 is necessary, there is an unfortunate track record of police and EMS services who are not equipped with the training or empathy to adequately assist people in mental health crises. 988 is an alternative to 911 when it comes to mental health crises, connecting individuals with trained crisis counselors who will listen, empathize, and support those who reach out in an effort to meet their immediate needs, in addition to connecting them with resources to access ongoing support.
While we as individuals may not always be equipped with all the right words or information when we suspect or know someone we care about is in a crisis, 988 and other services are life saving and life changing resources that can truly make a difference for folks.
For more information about the fight to end suicide and mental health stigma please visit www.afsp.org
24/7 Crisis Hotline: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Networkwww.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Call/text/chat 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (Veterans, press 1)
Crisis Text LineText TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
Veterans Crisis LineSend a text to 838255
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline (Substance Abuse)1-800-662-HELP (4357)
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474
The Trevor Project1-866-488-7386