New national suicide and mental health emergency hotline launches July 16th, 2022

Beginning Saturday, July 16th, 2022, people experiencing mental health emergencies can dial just three numbers to reach help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The line will be referred to as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, to emphasize that the service is for people experiencing a mental health crisis of any kind, not just those involving suicidal ideation.

This is not a new service, but rather a simpler way to access the critical support they might need during a mental health crisis. Anyone in the United States can text or call 988 to reach trained counselors who can help them cope with a mental health emergency, and direct them to additional resources for mental health and substance use treatment.

The Lifeline’s old number will continue to work, but the launch of the new service brings with it more help and resources to be able to help with suicide crisis as well as emotional distress and general mental health concerns.

“If you’re unsure, call,” said Dr. Robert Trestman, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Healthcare Systems and Financing. “Having an anonymous opportunity to speak to someone who knows what they’re talking about, who won’t be scared when you say, ‘I don’t know what to do, I’m thinking of hurting myself’ — this is an extraordinary option,” Dr. Trestman said.

When a person calls 988, they will first be connected to one of 200 local centers to help connect them to community resources or dispatch emergency services if necessary. However, not every state has set up local crisis teams that can respond to a mental health emergency, in which case callers will be automatically directed to a national backup center.

Now everyone, all over the country, can reach a counselor simply by calling 988.

Counselors will talk through the root of someone’s distress — whether it stems from illness, job loss, family stresses, or any other issue. They will help callers create concrete next steps to take after they hang up, including thinking through who else they can turn to for help, like a trusted clergy member or a local therapist.

Calls are anonymous, but in an emergency, such as if the caller requires medical attention, 988 can collaborate with local police or hospitals to dispatch services.

Why is the new number so important?

Tragically, suicide rates are on the rise in many states and it leaves a lasting impact on families and communities. Over the last 10 years, the suicide death rate has increased nearly 35% making it the 12th-leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2020 alone, 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan and 1.2 million attempted suicide in the past year.

What can family and loved ones do to help?

The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is going to be an important tool for those in crisis. Families, however, oftentimes see their children or relatives struggling well before the point of crisis. They could be struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and other disorders. Enlightened Solutions is here to help.

Enlightened Solutions offers those suffering with mental health and addiction issues a place where they can learn more about their struggle, find the support of others going through similar experiences, and make the necessary changes to their lives so that they can live well. Our integrated whole-person approach goes beyond just the symptoms to address underlying mental health conditions and the root causes of the issues and addictions. Give Enlightened solutions a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.