Finally, a Mental Health Hotline That’s Easy to Remember
We all remember the amazing song from Logic that really helped bring the conversation about mental illness to the mainstream. The song was titled "1-800-273-8255." I had to Google it to get the number.
I always found it interesting how the suicide prevention hotline wasn't necessarily an easy number to remember. I have to assume that made reaching out for help that much more difficult. I have been working closely with several non-profits that focus on making resources more easily available. Mental illness is already something that many people find hard to talk about, especially if someone may be in crisis and need help immediately.
Well, this past week the federal regulators just made is official. Similar to how when there is an emergency of any kind you would call 911 to get routed to the closest dispatcher to get help sent out to you, a new three-digit number will connect instantly to an expert that can help in times of emotional crisis.
The crisis number will be 988. While the Federal Communications Commission just confirmed this number and its purpose, implementing the use and access of the number is the next step. Right now the FCC is building the formal rules of this suicide prevention lifeline. I can only imagine these rules will be fairly similar to those that the EMS dispatch has to follow, with specific education surrounding mental illness.
All telephone service providers will be required to have this hotline be a free call within the next 18 months. Check out the official press release published by the FCC.
I have lost a few people fairly close to me to suicide. As many professionals have stated time and time again, this type of death is 100 percent preventable. Hopefully, this resource is getting us one step closer.
Have you been affected by mental illness? Do you think this number will make it easier for those struggling to reach out and get help?