September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This month, and throughout the year, ApexHealth joins the mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies and community members in promoting suicide prevention awareness. This year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) announced the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, established to improve access to crisis services. This means that if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, you can call or text 988, or chat (988lifeline.org), 24/7 for free and confidential support.
What is the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline?
The 988 Lifeline is now active across the U.S. It’s a newer, shorter phone number that makes it easier for people to remember and gain access to mental health services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, it is more than just an easy-to-remember number – it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress. The Lifeline also features TTY services for the hearing impaired. For TTY users, use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988. For more frequently asked questions (FAQs), visit SAMSHA for more information.
How will 988 affect the Veterans Crisis Line?
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 and pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the previous phone number—1-800-273-8255 and Press 1—by text (838255), and through chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat).”
How can I get help?
If you are experiencing emotional distress or a crisis yourself, there are options available to you. The 988 Lifeline provides confidential support 24/7 for everyone in the U.S. You will be connected to trained counselors that will listen, provide support, and connect you with resources if necessary. No matter what you’re struggling with, other people have felt the way you do. Healing, hope, and help can happen – please don’t wait.
How can I help someone else?
If you know someone who is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you could be the difference in getting them the help they need. It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide and it may be hard to know how a suicidal crisis feels and how to act. You can call the 988 Lifeline to find resources available in your area or encourage your loved one to call. Looking for more tips to help someone you love? Visit the 988 Lifeline website for more tips and information.