It’s been a little over a year since the 988 helpline was launched in July 2022. Also known as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, this resource connects individuals experiencing a suicide or mental health crisis with a trained professional who can direct the caller to appropriate treatment or resources and provide emotional support.
Since July 2022, over 5.3 million calls, texts, and chats have been directed to 988. An additional 600,000+ calls have been redirected to the Veteran’s Crisis lines. If you have ever wanted someone to talk when you experienced a crisis, or if you have wanted a resource to share with others, 988 is the number to call (or text, or chat)
Not sure when to call 988 or 911? Click here to get a better view of the infographic posted below.
Any given day, we can turn on the television or open a news app and find a story about an environmental disaster happening in some corner of the country. Stories about wildfires in Colorado or derechos in Iowa are sad and compelling, but we don’t always give disasters much of a thought until they happen in our backyard. When a disaster does happen close to our homes and communities, we can be faced with threats to our physical and mental health.
Humans are resilient and can handle a lot of difficult situations. But sometimes we need to take extra steps to protect our mental health, especially when a disaster happens. What can you do to protect mental health in a disaster?
- Take care of immediate needs- Make sure friends and family have a safe place to shelter, access to food and water, and proper clothing. Make sure they have access to required medications or medical devices.
- Don’t force a story- It’s human nature to ask, “What happened?!” There’s nothing wrong with being curious, but it can be upsetting to relive the event each time we’re asked to repeat a story. Offer a listening ear if you can, but don’t pressure others into sharing. Don’t feel obligated to repeat your own experiences either.
- Avoid “doom scrolling.” – Social media and 24/7 news channels make it easy to stay connected and informed. But constant exposure to stories about disasters and other intense events can be detrimental to our mental health. Set a limit on how much time you will spend consuming this information, and get your information from a trusted source .
Most people will be “okay” after a disaster and find healthy ways to cope and adapt to challenges. If you or someone close to you begins to experience severe stress or anxiety, reach out to a local mental health professional or a crisis line. Each of the resources listed below have trained professionals ready to listen to you, provide confidential support, and connect you with resources.
988 Suicide & Crisis Prevention Life Line– call or text 988
Crisis Textline- text any word to 741741
Ohio Careline- dial 1-800-720-9616
Now that harvest season is wrapping up, many of us are looking ahead to the holiday season. The last several weeks of the year are full of parties, gift-giving, and festive meals. While many eagerly anticipate this time of year, some individuals feel more anxious or depressed during the holidays. A study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2021 found that 3 out of 5 people said their mental health worsened during the holiday season. Financial pressures, conflict with family members, loss of loved ones, and busy schedules were common reasons people felt stressed, anxious, or depressed.
If you notice your mental health worsening during the holidays, take hope! You can do many things to boost your mood or reduce stress. Consider these options:
- Practice self-care. What activities help you feel refreshed or relaxed? Taking a walk around your property, watching a favorite movie, or driving through a Christmas light display in your community are all simple activities that can bring happiness.
- Avoid negative coping strategies. It is common for people to enjoy alcoholic beverages, but excessive drinking to change your mood can harm your physical and mental health. Click here to learn more.
- Set healthy boundaries. It is okay to say “no” or “not right now.” If your schedule is too busy, consider limiting the number of invitations you accept. If family gatherings are a little contentious, plan to stay for only an hour or two.
- Follow your regular routine. Enjoy holiday treats AND remember your veggies and protein. Settle in for a fun movie night AND aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest and nutrition help your mental health tremendously!
- Acknowledge your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or family member and tell them how you feel. Sometimes, just saying words out loud can help remove a burden from our minds. Your loved ones may also be able to provide additional support.
Sometimes, our own efforts aren’t quite enough. Don’t hesitate to contact a trained professional if your mental health worsens or you experience a mental health crisis. Here are some important resources:
- 988 – call or text this number 24/7 to be connected to the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline. A trained counselor will listen to you, support you, and share resources in your area.
- 741741 – text the Crisis Lifeline 24/7 to connect with a trained counselor.
- 911 – if you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts or a medical emergency, call emergency services immediately.
- 1-800-720-9616 – The Ohio Careline is a 24/7 service that provides emotional support and connects callers to local resources.
The holidays can be a time of excitement and happiness and can also be challenging or difficult. You can take many steps personally, and many professionals can help. You are not alone. Take the steps you need to protect and improve your mental health today.
“The topic (mental health) has long been stigmatized in farming communities. We’re tough. We can handle things on our own. We don’t need to be all touchy-feely, talking about our emotions or our problems. Things need to get done. Animals need our care. Crops need to be harvested. Farmers would much rather push it all down inside and keep going.” This is a powerful quote from an article published by Farm and Dairy. In this article, the author features two stories of farm families impacted by suicide. Take a moment to read this piece written by author Rachel Wagoner.
As Suicide Prevention Month draws to a close for 2022, we want to remind you that if you are experiencing mental health challenges (anxiety, depression) or mental health emergencies (suicidal thoughts), YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many people who are ready, willing, and able to help you find the resources you need to feel better. Mental health challenges can be overwhelming, but it is important to know that with the right help, recovery is both possible and probable!
Consider the following resources:
- 988- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Call or text this number to be connected to a trained counselor who will talk with you and help you connect with the right resources
- 741741- Crisis Text Line. Text this number to be connected to a trained counselor.
- Ohio Mental Health Resource Guide– click on your county to see a list of resources available in your area
- Ohio Careline- dial 1-800-720-9616 to be connected to a behavioral health professional who will offer emotional support to anyone experiencing a personal or family crisis
If you are interested in raising awareness of mental health and bringing Mental Health First Aid or QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings to your community or organization, please reach out to Bridget at firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been in existence since 2005. The Lifeline has been an invaluable resource for people to use in a suicide crisis situation, and now a new initiative has made it even easier for people to connect with trained counselors in times of distress. Anyone in the United States can now call or text 988 to reach the Lifeline when they are in a state of emotional distress, having thoughts of suicide, having thoughts of harming others, or having substance use concerns.
In addition to the new, easy-to-remember number, the Lifeline has expanded the services it offers. Traditionally, the Lifeline primarily focused on supporting individuals experiencing a suicide crisis situation. It now also offers support for someone who would like to talk through the distress they are experiencing related to anxiety, depression, or substance use.
Just as when people called the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (which will continue to remain in service), a person who calls or texts 988 will be linked to a trained professional such as a counselor, therapist, or social worker for support. These counselors are trained to reduce the stress of the challenge or crisis, provide emotional support, and link the caller to services in their local area for additional assistance. Research has shown that most calls to the Lifeline can be managed or resolved over the phone.
Help us break down the stigma of receiving support by promoting 988! There is no shame in seeking out support.
Here is a list of common signs a person may need to talk with a mental health professional:
- New or unusual fatigue
- Increased irritability
- Depression lasted more than 2 weeks
- Social isolation
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Difficulty following through with tasks at work or school
Most of these signs are compounded on top of each other and last for several weeks.
The switch to the new 988 number has been a work in progress for several years, and it will take some time to spread the word within our communities. You can help spread the word today by sharing this information on your personal or professional social media pages, or by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/partner-toolkit to find resources that can be shared at locations throughout your community.