After switching to 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reports a 45% increase in calls

Published on September 21, 2022 13:05 PM by Laura Mendes

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recorded a 45% increase in total volume since the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline's national launch in July.

The HSS published fresh data on Friday that revealed a substantial rise in calls, answer rates, and wait times in August 2022 as compared to the same month the previous year.

In its first month, the 988 Lifeline received 361,140 calls, chats, and messages in total, with an average response time of 42 seconds.

In a release, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra stated that "our country's transition to 988 gets us closer to better servicing the crisis care needs of individuals across America." 

988 is a statement that says, "We're here for you," more than just a number.

Also read :The ten nations with the highest suicide rates worldwide

The transition to 988 is just the beginning

We'll keep working to provide comprehensive, effective crisis care services across the country to save lives.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new $35 million grant opportunity to support 988 Lifeline services as a result of the advancements, allowing for the connection of more qualified crisis counselors with those in need of assistance.

"It is critical that people have a place to turn when they are in crisis, given the rising rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental diseases, as well as the tragic number of overdose deaths.

"On July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline switched to 988 to provide a convenient hotline for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Lifeline's old phone number, 1-800-273-8255, is still in use today despite the inauguration of the three-digit number.

The adjustment was made in reaction to the global rise in mental health issues, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 epidemic and the opioid crisis at home.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that suicide rates have risen over the previous 20 years (NIMH).



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According to the NIMH

According to the NIMH, suicide is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States for those between the ages of 35 and 44 and the second top cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. Matthew Wintersteen, a clinical psychologist at Thomas Jefferson University, argued that the 988 number would be simpler to remember and more useful than Lifeline's last 10-digit phone number in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Where should I go?

Plan is for 988 to take on that role, according to Wintersteen

The nation's awareness of the truth of the current mental health epidemic has also been increased by the recent suicides of celebrities, including Naomi Judd, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's director, John Draper, claims that the week following Spades' and Bourdain's suicides saw a 25% rise in calls to suicide hotlines.

Also read :National suicide prevention lifeline reports 45 increase in calls after switch to 988

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