988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Marks One Year Anniversary

July 16 marks one-year anniversary of 988 Suicide & Crisis ...

Many of you know that I often write about suicide prevention. I hope you have read my latest blog on the Crosland Chroma Suicide Means Prevention art installation on top of the Georgia Institute of Technology library. Also, when the 988 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Lifeline was introduced, I wrote a blog about that. I hope you will take the time to read these two special blog posts.

The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, 988, marked its one year Anniversary yesterday. United States Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra observed the anniversary by noting “Through 988, our message to Americans in crisis is clear: support is here. And thanks to President Biden, millions of Americans have been able to seek out help. Nearly 5 million calls, texts, and chats have been answered over the past year – saving countless lives.

Anecdotally, we know 988 is working. For example, in Nebraska, before implementation of the new 988 lifeline in July 2022, the Boys Town National Hotline in Omaha was the home of the Suicide Prevention Hotline. In a natural evolution, Boys Town became the call center for 988 as well as the Nebraska Family Helpline. In 2021, before the existence of 988, Boys Town received 8,777 calls to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Since 988 Nebraska’s implementation, that number has more than doubled to 18,300.

More help is on the way as the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced more than $200 million in new funding to build local capacity for 988 and related crisis services. Unfortunately, here in Georgia, the state agency responsible for the crisis call center was dealt a setback earlier this month when Gov. Brian Kemp rejected a $2.3 million funding increase for additional support to manage the ongoing rollout. Kemp also nixed extra salary bumps for mental health professionals. Those cuts were part of a long list of line items in the budget that Kemp struck down across several agencies as concerns about future state revenues grow. Revenues dropped 16.5% last month, but overall tax collections remained up slightly – 0.9% – for the year.

The need for help is particularly strong in rural Georgia among Georgia farmers. Nearly 30% of farmers reported thinking of dying by suicide at least once a month, according to the report produced by the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University School of Medicine. And 42% of all farmers have thought about dying by suicide at least once in the past 12 months, according to the report. Among first-generation farmers, 61% said they had thought about dying by suicide in the last year.  Hats off to Tyler Harper, the Georgia Agriculture Commissioner, for promoting mental health and the 988 lifeline to Georgia Farmers. Harper’s department has been promoting the hotline and other mental health resources as a way of encouraging farmers to reach out for help. “By asking for help, you’re better able to take care of yourself, you’re better able to keep your nose to the grind, you’re better able to be self-sustaining and support your family, which in turn takes care of our state and takes care of our economy. It takes care of the rest of us as well,” Harper said.

The 988 Lifeline is saving lives in Georgia. Approaching the one-year mark since the launch of the national 988 crisis line, Georgians have used crisis lines for mental health or substance abuse assistance 12% more since July 2022.  I hope the 988 lifeline will receive additional funding from the State and the Governor it needs to continue to save lives. The lives of Georgia citizens literally depend upon it.


Robin Frazer Clark is a trial lawyer who pursues justice for those who have personal injury claims as a result of being injured in motor vehicle wrecks, trucking wrecks, defective products, defective maintenance of roads, premises safety, medical malpractice and other incidents caused by the negligence of others.  Ms. Clark is the 50th President of the State Bar of Georgia, a Past President of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a Past President of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and has practiced law in Georgia for 35 years. She is a member of the International Society of Barristers and of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mrs. Clark is listed as one of the Top 50 Women Trial Lawyers in Georgia and the Top 25 National Women Trial Lawyers and is a Georgia Super Lawyer. Ms. Clark is the co-host of the podcast “See You In Court,” sponsored by the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation.  Ms. Clark has tried over 75 jury trials and argued in Georgia Appellate Courts over 45 times.

Robin Frazer Clark ~ Dedicated to the Constitution’s Promise of Justice for All.

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