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Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention

New 988 mental health crisis line sees ‘eye-opening’ rise in calls, texts, chats in first 6 months, data shows

Since the summer launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the new three-digit number has seen a significant rise in call volume – routing more than 2 million calls, texts and chat messages to call centers, with the majority being answered in under a minute.

“The average speed to answer year-over-year was about three minutes in 2021. It’s now 44 seconds in December of 2022,” said Dr. John Palmieri, a senior medical advisor at the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, who serves as 988’s deputy director.

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Cries for help pour into 988 mental health, suicide line

When Jamieson Brill answers a crisis call from a Spanish speaker on the newly launched national 988 mental health helpline, he rarely mentions the word suicide, or “suicidio”

Brill, whose family hails from Puerto Rico, knows that just discussing the term in some Spanish-speaking cultures is so frowned upon that many callers are too scared to even admit that they’re calling for themselves.

“However strong stigma around mental health concerns is in English-speaking cultures, in Spanish-speaking cultures it is triple that,” said Brill, who helps people navigate mental health crises from a tiny brick building tucked away in Hyattsville, Maryland.

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People Living With HIV/AIDS Have Much Higher Risk of Suicide

As of 2018, approximately 1.2 million people had HIV in the U.S.1 According to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in General Psychiatry, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS significantly increases the risk of suicidality.

Suicide is estimated to claim one life every eleven minutes in the U.S., according to the CDC. Unfortunately, the risk of death by suicide increases by about 100 times for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

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Study finds ‘huge’ increase in children going to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts

There has been a steady increase in the number of children who are seen in emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts, according to a new study – and the increase started even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought record high demand for psychological services for children.

The pandemic’s effects drew renewed attention to suicide in teens and young children. In June, the Biden administration called the recent rise in rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among kids an “unprecedented mental health crisis.”

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