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.