Suicide is a serious but preventable public health issue that devastates families and communities. It is also notoriously difficult to talk about, especially for those who have been affected in some way by suicide. By normalizing the suicide conversation, we can all save lives. Together we can work to destigmatize mental health crises and help make it easier to talk about suicide in a supportive way that increases access to mental health professionals through the new 988 Lifeline.
Who is at Risk?
Because all people can experience depression and adverse life events, anyone can be at risk for suicide, but some groups experience disproportionally higher rates of suicide than others. These groups include men over the age of 85, middle-aged people 45-54, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Veterans, LGBTQ+, youth aged 10-24, as well as attempt survivors, loss survivors, and disaster survivors. (https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide/at-risk)
In 2020, 45,979 people died by suicide in the United States, one person every 11 minutes. In the same year, 1.2 million adults made an attempt, 3.2 million made a plan and 12.2 million seriously thought about suicide. Suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64 and it was the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-14 and 25-34. (https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/suicide-data-statistics.html)
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline is now live. Contacting 988 will connect someone with a trained counselor who will listen and understand, provide support, and who will connect the person to additional resources if more help is needed.
Simply call 988, text 988, or chat at 988Lifeline.org in English or en Español. TTY users can continue using their preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 988. Veterans and service members can access the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 988, and pressing 1.
The 988 Lifeline consists of the same network of over 200 crisis centers nationwide that have been operating since 2005. The new dialing code is easier to remember than the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255), but both numbers will remain in service and each connects to the same network of counselors.
#BeThe1To Prevent Suicide
#BeThe1To is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month because you can be the one to save a life. The Lifeline offers these five action steps for having a suicide conversation with someone who may be having suicidal thoughts:
Ask. Be there. Keep them safe. Help them connect. Follow up.
Learn how to turn these 5 steps into action at BeThe1To.com [https://www.bethe1to.com/bethe1to-steps-evidence/].
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need help, or if you suspect someone else might need help, contact the 988 Lifeline. Call or text 988 from any phone or visit 988Lifeline.org to chat with someone live right now. You are not alone.