988 hotline is now officially operating making crisis intervention easier and available 24/7. On July 16, 2022, the U.S. transitioned from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988, a 3-digit number hopefully easier to remember. As the new nationwide phone number, a caller can either text or call to be connected with mental health professionals associated with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. With a national network of more than 200 crisis centers connected together, the goal is to make crisis services available to all who find themselves hurting and in need of help overcoming mental health challenges. Hope, a 4-letter word, is found in a 3-digit number! According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) “988 is more than a number, it is a message: we’re there for you.” This intervention is made available “for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress — whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.”(1) “All across our country, people are hurting. They need help. The good news is that getting that help just got a lot easier,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This cross-government effort has been years in the making and comes at a crucial point to help address the mental health crisis in our country.”
988 For Veterans
988 also incorporates Veteran’s Crisis as well. When you initially call the number, you will hear about Veteran’s services and press 1 for Veteran help, then the call will connect you directly to a nearby crisis center near you. Leo Shane, writer for Military Times and who covers Veterans Affairs, points out that although 988 wasn’t specifically designed for the military, “advocates are hopeful that the resource will provide an easier venue for veterans and military members facing mental health emergencies.”(2) In preparation of 988 rolling out, the Department of Veterans Affairs, believed “the new three-digit format will lead to increased calls” thus Dr. Matthew Miller, executive director for suicide prevention at the VA, called for the hiring of “additional personnel to meet demand.”(3)
988 For The Many
According to SAMHSA, “In 2021, the Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts. That number is expected to at least double within the first full year after the 988 transitions.” And when one looks at the suicide rate in the United States in the year 2020, just one year earlier, the number is staggering with 45,979 deaths, which was about one death every 11 minutes. (4) And with the recent events of 2020 to 2021, there has been an increase in people experiencing mental illness. Dr. Mariano, a writer for Psychiatric Times, shares Vahratian A, Blumberg’s finding, “From August 2020 to February 2021, the CDC described an increase in the proportion of adults reporting recent symptoms of anxiety or depression from 36.4% to 41.5%, with the fraction reporting unmet mental health care needs increasing from 9.2% to 11.7%.”(5) Our society has now reached a point where mental health is a priority and getting the necessary help 24/7 is crucial. With Covid, politics, and societal pandemonium we need quick and easy access to care. The activation of 988 at this time is precisely timed and needed.
Get The Support You Need
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or struggling with a mental illness, and you need immediate help, either call or text 988 to speak with a professional mental health specialist at the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or chat online at Lifeline Chat.
The therapists at New Heights Counseling want you to know we’re here for you as well. Counselors will work with you at your pace to address the concerns you are dealing with. Pick up the phone and call (850)757-1552 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional therapists today. Read our staff’s biographies on our website at meet our team. Reach out and let us help you.
Mental Health Community – Blog post was written by Hillary Marshall
When Should I Seek Counseling? – Blog post written by Cassandra Mills
New Heights Counseling Offers a Variety of Mental Health Services
The mental health of a person is extremely important to maintain as it contributes to and impacts every aspect of that person’s life. Elizabeth Plumptre, a writer for VeryWellMind.com points out, that your mental health “determines how you’re able to operate psychologically, emotionally, and socially among others.” Our therapists work alongside clients to take a positive approach, address mental concerns, and stabilize behavior, emotional responses, and thoughts. If you struggle with undesirable thoughts, addictions, panic attacks, anger issues, grief/loss, trauma-related issues, or any other mental health concerns, reach out to one of our therapists. We offer services for children, adolescents, and adults and we offer in-person sessions at our Fort Walton Beach, FL location and online therapy for the state of Florida and Virginia. Through therapy at New Heights Counseling, your feelings of defeat and discouragement are replaced with finding answers and reaching new aspirations in your life again.
New Heights Counseling is located on the 2nd floor of WorkSpace Suites at 1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1057, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Get directions to our office from Google Maps, or visit our office location webpage. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM. Call (850)757-1552
About the Author:
Shareen Ancog is a PRE-LICENSED Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at New Heights Counseling. She is Level 2 trauma trained in EMDR and devoted to assisting people in overcoming life obstacles. Shareen is dedicated to her clients’ care and services in Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities. Book an appointment with Shareen today HERE!