The current number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. But, what if there was a phone number for the suicide hotline that was as simple as when others call 911 for emergencies? The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved a new three-digit phone number, 988, to serve as the new simple phone number to report a suicide or get help for suicidal thoughts.
Motivation for the New Phone Number
Suicide rates have increased over the past couple of decades by more than 30% in half of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 45,000 deaths in 2016. From 1999 to 2016, suicide increased everywhere in the U.S. except for Nevada. Suicide rates are also higher with at-risk populations like veterans or the LGBT community. With this many people committing suicide every year, it makes you wonder what more the government can do. Can it be that the number for the hotline that we have is too hard to remember or too complicated? It is possible that a simpler phone number can make a difference in who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.
When we feel there is an emergency that we experience that puts us on full alert, we are quick to call 911. There is no stigma surrounding calling the police when your life feels threatened or if you see someone get hurt. The same should be said if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Advocates say that having a dedicated number like 988 can help break the stigma of suicide and be able to call that number with the same importance as calling 911 for medical emergencies.
The High Costs
According to the Federal Communications Commission, a new, shorter number can lead to crisis centers, who are already struggling with their funding, to need an extra $50 million a year to handle the increase in phone calls. Even though the increase in calls may cost more, money will be saved in the long run because more people will call 988 instead of 911 which will save thousands of dollars in sending in first responders. First responders do not need to be at the scene of a suicide-related call since they are not trained for those situations. The number 988 can send health professional to just speak to that person and let them know everything will be okay.
At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms. Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.