A healthy mindset

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Mental illness is a serious problem in our country, and it isn’t getting any better. Millions of people, especially young adults, are living with a mental disorder and either do not realize they are ill or do not seek the help they need. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, or more serious illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more.

In your work at your church or organization, you likely come across people who are in crisis and need help. When someone is injured and needs an ambulance, you call 911. But in a mental health crisis situation, who do you call?

Fortunately, there is a new option available, and it’s as easy as remembering 988. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use and/or a mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

When calling 988, callers first hear a greeting message while their call is routed to the local Lifeline network crisis center (based on the caller’s area code). A trained crisis counselor answers the phone, listens to the caller, understands how their problem is affecting them, provides support, and shares resources as needed. If the local crisis center is unable to take the call, the caller is routed automatically to a national backup crisis center. The Lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in more than 250 additional languages for people who call 988.

According to SAMHSA, the primary goal of the Lifeline is to provide support for people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress in the moments they most need it and in a manner which is person-centered. The vast majority of those seeking help from the Lifeline do not require any additional interventions at that moment.

Treating a mental illness is not something a person can attempt on their own. Similar to most health conditions, help for mental illness requires professional diagnosis and treatment. If someone asks you for help, let them know that there are resources available. And, share this article with other leaders in case they are unaware. Remember: Dial 988!