The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, 123 people kill themselves every day. By calling The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, your chances of suicidal thoughts and attempts will decrease as you speak to a staff member who will hear you out and stay with you on the phone until you are satisfied.
Suicidal warnings may be more obvious than you think. Someone can be suicidal if they talk about wanting to die, searching for online methods on how to kill themselves, feel like a burden to others, feel trapped, or talk about seeking revenge. Other signs that are less obvious can include increasing the use of drugs and alcohol, sleeping too much or too little, isolating themselves, reckless behavior, or extreme mood swings. Once you see these warnings, do something about them before it is too late.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was founded on January 1, 2005. It is funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by the Mental Health Association in New York City. According to US Today, during the first year of operation, there were over 46,000 phone calls. In 2017, there was over two million. After designer Kate Spade committed suicide over the summer, 25% of people called the hotline. Rapper Logic performed his song 1-800-273-8255 at the Grammy Awards and the calls tripled. With more people aware of this phone number and having it in their minds, they will know where to call if they need support that they would not normally get in their own home.
By calling 1-800-273-TALK, you will be calling, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a hotline that is open 24/7 every week. It is free and confidential so you do not need to give out any personal information including your name. According to Communications Director Frances Gonzalez, 25-30% of people call over a suicide-related issue. Others call because they are in emotional distress. Friends and family members of those who are suicidal also call the hotline.
The way that the phone call will work when you call the hotline is that you will hear a message that you have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Then, you will hear hold music while you wait. When the music stops, you will be on the line with a skilled, trained crisis worker who works at a crisis center closest to you. This person will try to get to know you as a person first. They will listen very carefully about what is distressing you. The worker will also try to understand how the problem you are facing has affected you. Support will be provided to you as well as helpful resources for you to have once the conversation is over.
The hotline worker will also listen for reasons as to why you want to die and why you want to live. They will ask you have suicidal you are and if this is just something that you are thinking about doing. You will also be asked what has kept you alive right now as well as making a list of the important people in your life that you would reach out to who make you feel safe. This phone call will remind you of everything and everyone that you do have that your distress may have made you forget. Last but not least, the hotline worker will help create a safety plan for you by helping you identify behaviors, moods, and situations that may trigger suicidal thoughts or attempts. You will get contact information of mental health professionals and agencies near your area for any long-term problems you are having as well as how to make your environment safe.
This hotline also has a backup network just in case there is a high volume of calls or there is a lack of a nearby crisis center. You may also be connected to an interpreter service if you do not speak English. You do not have to worry about the hotline sending an ambulance or a police car to your house after the call. Those cases only occur if the hotline worker has failed to get the caller to collaborate with him/her and says they will for sure kill themselves as they speak. In those cases, the hotline will send emergency services to come. Some hotlines will offer follow-up calls to the caller if they feel like they need them.
Knowing that you are on the phone with someone who is caring and devoting their time to listen to you and help you out should make all of the difference for you. There is no time limit to how long you can stay on the line with that person as you need help whether it is in minutes or hours. Whether listening to Logic’s song will help you remember the phone number or writing it down and keeping it close to you, you know where to call if you need to talk. The call is no charge and your identity will be kept a secret so you can pour your heart out to someone who will save your life. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and are looking for help, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or use chat services at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
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