Recently I heard there was a new service being launched by the US government called the "988 suicide and crisis lifeline." I get emails about this king of thing all the time, but I have to admit I was intrigued by this one.
One thing that I hope results from this change is an improvement in crisis response services. Prior to 988 your mileage could vary substantially when calling your county crisis hotline. This was the primary way to get help before this hotline, and almost always involved law enforcement. I've spoken directly with a number of law enforcement officers, and I can say that based on what I've heard many of these individuals have little or no training in managing mental health crises. What's more, the culture of many departments around mental health can be very toxic. So, when I heard that this will replace these county crisis lines, I became hopeful that it would change and improve the response to acute mental health crises. Although, as with many things, time will tell.
A gripe I've had with the previous national suicide hotline was that it was so difficult to remember. When people are in acute crisis, often times they are not able to think straight, many in depression will experience brain fog and not be able to remember things. I have to give credit to Logic (and Alessia Carter and DJ Khalid) for his song 1-800-273-8255 trying to promote the previous hotline, and maybe trying to make the number more memorable...but this is a much better solution. 988 is as easy to remember as 911, so hopefully this will increase service utilization by those in crisis.
With their news release the FCC has provided a number of pre-made social media posts. After reading these, I decided to extract the useful bits of information and pass them along to you through a convenient (and single) post.
The useful bits:
So, please spread the word about this new service. Tell your friends and family, your Twitter following, whatever. And next time you're in a personal crisis, call 988.
Andrew Bailey has been practicing psychotherapy for over a decade. He has worked with patients of all ages, and at all levels of care. He specializes in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders, but treat co-occurring disorders as well.
Holly Numan has years of work experience at different levels of care with different populations. She offers unique insights into working with anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and addictions.