The last decade has seen an enormous rise in the awareness of the out-of-date and inefficient process that occurs when someone has a mental health crisis and calls 911. People who suffer from emotional or mental health disorders are often taken to jail or the emergency department and never provided the care and help they need to get better.
Mental health organizations and government agencies are now taking a proactive solution to decriminalize mental health disorders and substance use disorders that so often accompany these diagnoses.
Why is a National Emergency Mental Health and Addiction Helpline Important?
The need and urgency to reform how people at risk for committing suicide to get crisis help are especially significant. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports that in 2018 nearly 50,000 people committed suicide. Also, since 2008, suicide is has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The Institute of mental health explains how devastating the rates of suicide have become.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2018. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. The fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54. There were more than two and a half times as many suicides (48,344) in the United States as there were homicides (18,830). (NIMH)
The Addiction and Mental Health Crisis Continues to Cause Problems
Fortunately, in August 2019, the FCC and the U.s Department of Health and Human Services worked together to enact a separate emergency 3-digit number for people to call instead of 911. Similarly, the 911 operators will also funnel calls to the new emergency mental health crisis number instead of sending out the police or an ambulance- when appropriate. Leaders in mental health care agree that the unique emergency number will expedite the proper care and support for those who call. It is also evident that time, money, and resources will be saved from unnecessary 911 calls being dispatched.
The benefits of the 988 number will improve mental and emotional health crisis outcomes and begin to further reduce the stigma and criminalization for people for having a mental health disorder and for persons who are struggling with drugs and addiction. The 988 number will be responsible for helping people who need to meet with a crisis counselor, go to a medically supervised detox, have a psychiatric evaluation, and get necessary medications for their mental illness.
When Will the New Emergency Helpline Take Effect?
The Federal Communications Commission released quick facts and benefits about the new emergency number and how it will affect the old system of calling a 1-800 number to transition to the new 3-digit emergency mental health help number. The goals of the 988 number are to relieve unnecessary strain on the emergency departments, police, but most importantly, to finally give the appropriate care and support to the individuals who need help for an emotional or mental health diagnosis which includes substance use disorders.
The requirement to transition to 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline will take effect on July 16, 2022. The transition time gives phone companies time to make necessary network changes and for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to prepare for a likely increase in the volume of calls following the switch. The new 988 number reflects a commitment to delivering Americans necessary crisis intervention services. Switching to an easy-to-remember 988 as the ‘911’ for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services will make it easier for Americans in crisis to access the help they need and decrease the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. (FCC)
Where to Get Help for Mental Health Right Now?
It is vital that when a person is experiencing a mental or emotional health crisis that they are treated with immediate care and support from a qualified psychiatric provider. People diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, attention deficit disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and all substance use disorders (addictions) require proper mental health treatment.
Professional mental health counseling is available for men, women, and young adults. The centers that we endorse provide numerous evidence-based therapy forms to help people diagnosed with emotional or mental health disorders. For an addiction to drugs like heroin, prescription pain killers, methamphetamines, alcohol, Xanax or other benzodiazepines, and other substances, to get the help they need often starts with our specialists. To find a professional mental health counselor and help with an addiction, a representative at Recreate Life Counseling are ready to locate a qualified provider as soon as 24 hours.