President Trump just signed a law establishing a new suicide hotline. The hotline number is 9-8-8 and will go live starting in mid 2022. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act passed in September.
The new law will replace the current ten-digit suicide hotline number which is currently 1-800-273-8255. It’s a good move, as 9-8-8 is far easier to remember, and with the right marketing campaign, this could save a lot of lives.
Suicide hotline in America
The FCC has estimated the costs associated with switching to the new three digit hotline will cost approximately $570 million dollars the first year and another $175 million dollars the second year.
This would cover the call center’s staff and training as well as a new public awareness campaign. Law makers have stressed that the importance of saving American lives will far outweigh the close to $1 billion dollar price tag on the new initiative.
2020 has been a rough year for the economy. Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. Not only are many Americans out of work, they’re also facing the fear of some new unseen enemy. The Covid-19 virus has turned our entire way of life upside-down.
With the downturn in the economy came a huge spike in mental heath issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a rise in substance abuse and suicidal ideation in 2020. Symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased considerably in the United States from the same time last year.
In 2019, approximately 8.1% of American adults reported having feelings of anxiety. That number has risen to 25.5%, a three-fold increase. That is substantial, and it’s no surprise. Many Americans have lost their jobs and businesses due to the pandemic. Many states are forcing small businesses to close, which is totally destroying some American’s only way to earn a living.
Normal way of life shattered
Furthermore, social distancing measures are keeping loved ones away from each other and children out of schools. Our familiar daily routines and normal ways of life have been shattered by this virus and many Americans are finding it hard to cope.
On top of all this, we have protests, riots and civil unrest in cities across the country. Every time you tune into the news it seems to be happening somewhere else. The presidential election is just days away and many Americans are preparing for the worst if their chosen candidate loses.
2020 has been a hard year for many of us but there’s still hope. It’s important to remember that America has been through plenty of hard times before.
A Civil War, several World Wars, depressions, recessions, pandemics and terror attacks. We’ve seen it all, and we’re still here. Americans are strong and brave people. We’ll get through this.
If you or someone you know are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, just know that you are not alone. There are people here to help you. Please, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and text “HOME” to 741741 for the crisis line. Crisis support in Spanish is available at 1-888-628-9454.