Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Offers Mental Health Crisis Intervention

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Offers Mental Health Crisis Intervention

Golden West recognizes t the importance of keeping members connected and safe. Three-digit dialing codes have long provided easy access to everything from road conditions to community and emergency services. Beginning July 16, you will be able to speak with a trained counselor by dialing 988 — a new national mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.

The addition of the 988 hotline is the reason everyone in the 605 area code – and in most area codes across the country – must now dial 10 digits for all calls. While doing so might seem like a hassle, it’s a small price to pay to enable those suffering from a mental health crisis to quickly and easily find help.

Trained Counselors Provide Professional Help

In times of crisis, individuals often have nobody to turn to. This can lead to acts of violence or self-harm. To provide people experiencing emotional distress with access to a trained counselor, the Federal Communications Commission designated 988 as a national crisis hotline. After two years of preparations, dialing that three-digit code will now connect callers with a mental health professional, who will provide support and offer resources to those in need.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, established in 2005, has made a difference. Studies show after speaking with a counselor callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful. While the original number will remain active at 1-800-273-8255, the FCC believes the simpler, easier-to-remember 988 three-digit number will have an even bigger positive impact.

The overall goal is to improve the nation’s crisis response and reduce the risk of tragedy by providing at-risk individuals with timely, compassionate care. A cohesive mental health response in the U.S. has long been lacking. Numbers reflect the tragic consequences:

• Suicide has been ranked as the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. since 2008.

• More than 44,000 Americans committed suicide in 2020 alone.

• Between 2015 and 2020, one in four fatal police shootings involved a person with mental illness.

• At least one out of every three incarcerated people are estimated to suffer from a mental health condition.




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