You Know About 9-1-1, But Do You Know About 9-8-8?
Sure you know what 9-1-1 is and when to use the Emergency number, we teach our children the number as well. After a vote in July, you should learn a new number 9-8-8. The 3 number combination, if approved by the FCC in July, which according to this KMSP-TV article is very likely, will serve as a quick way to reach a suicide prevention hotline.
According to the KMSP-TV article, the Federal Communications Commission says phone service providers will have until July 2022 to implement the new number, if the measure is approved in July, as expected.
Once it's in place, people will be able to dial 9-8-8 to seek help. Just like how you already call 9-1-1 for an emergency. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255), which routes calls to about 170 crisis centers.
That 1-800 number will still be there for people to use, but the shorter number will more than likely make it easier for people to call and "is expected to lead to an increase in calls to the hotline."
Researchers had found that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of many, but especially teenagers and children. Young people who were diagnosed with ADHD for the first time rose 66 percent during March and April, while 41 percent of patient visits among children and teenagers also involved discussion of depression, according to Athenahealth.
It makes sense that COVID-19 has pushed people into depression. Humans aren't species that isolate well. For a period of time, we were simply locked at home. That home could have had children, infants, work was more than likely there for a period of time. For some people it was just them alone at home, not being able to go out and be social, not being able to see their loved ones. It can still be a tough time if you are an individual that is considered to be high risk.
Having a short, memorable number will hopefully lead to more calls, and lessen the stigma of mental illness and mental health.