Suicide is one of the great mental health crises of our time. Every single year, we lose more than 48,000 Americans who take their own lives. The factors that contribute to this tragedy are endless: Depression, anxiety, isolation, lack of resources, lack of support, even external variables like COVID-19. The cumulative impact is profound. Each of these lives is precious, and each loss is painful.
Thankfully, there are resources available for individuals who are contemplating suicide and who need urgent support. And now, these suicide prevention resources are more accessible than ever, thanks to efforts made by the U.S. government as well as leading telecommunication companies, in partnership with mental health advocacy groups.
There are a number of suicide hotlines around the country, including both national and state-level resources. The best-known of these hotlines is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. By calling this number, individuals can talk to a mental health counselor who is prepared to offer confidential, compassionate help. (Also note that this hotline can connect the caller to more individualized services, including a hotline specific to veterans.)
The one big problem is that not everyone knows, or could remember, the 1-800 number associated with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Enter a critical government action from 2019.
Toward the end of 2019, the FCC recommended the development of a standardized three-digit call-in number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, similar to 911. This recommendation was officially adopted in 2020, appointing 988 as the official number for the National Suicide Prevention Line.
This is a great step toward making life-saving mental health services available to those who need them. However, we want to emphasize that the transition for the 988 number will take place over the course of a couple years. Calling 988 will be active starting July 16, 2022.
At TelWare, we are supportive of this endeavor, and thankful to know that the individuals and families who need mental health care will soon have a clear way to access it. To that end, we have ensured that our OneCloud products will allow external calls to the 988 number today, without the need for any dial-out prefix.
We are happy for the chance to play a small part in ensuring that everyone in need of a counselor can access one, without any undue difficulty.
To find out more, reach out to TelWare Corporation at your convenience at 1.800.637.3148 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. TelWare is a national leader in the installation of voice, video, data, and unified communications solutions.
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TelWare has ensured that OneCloud products allow external calls to the 988 number today, without the need for any dial-out prefix.