Findings Show Low Awareness and Concerns About Using the Service
According to a recent survey conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts, only 13% of U.S. adults have heard of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and know its purpose. When told of its purpose, a significant portion of those surveyed expressed some reservations about the perceived consequences of using the Lifeline—particularly those who identified as having mental health issues. The results highlight the need for ongoing promotion of the 988 Lifeline and better education about how it operates.
988 Awareness and Perception Issues
The 988 Lifeline was launched just last July, so awareness will grow with additional promotion over time, but reservations that survey respondents expressed about the perceived consequences of using the Lifeline underscore the need for additional education as well.
When survey participants were told what the 988 Lifeline was, about 7 in 10 people said they were somewhat likely or highly likely to use it. However, about 2 in 5 expressed concerns, including that calling 988 might result in law enforcement being sent, being forced to go to the hospital, being charged for services they couldn’t afford to pay, or other people finding out they’d called.
Even more troubling, according to the Survey summary, “People with mental health issues…were more concerned than those without mental health issues that law enforcement would be sent (56% versus 40%), they would be forced to go to the hospital (55% versus 38%), they’d incur costs they couldn’t pay (49% versus 35%), and that others would find out (46% versus 36%).”
Suicide Among Leading Causes of Death for Younger People
In 2020, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 45,900 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were nearly two times as many suicides (45,979) in the United States as there were homicides (24,576).
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10-14 and 25-34, the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15-24, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
The 988 Lifeline
To help address the issue, in July 2022, the U.S. launched the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline with the 988 call designation to connect the growing number of people experiencing mental health or substance use issues with a trained counselor.
The Lifeline system routes calls to the closest crisis center in the Lifeline network based on area code. Each crisis center picks its coverage area (which can be defined by zip code, area code, county, or even state), and its hours of operation.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they are connected to trained counselors that are part of the Lifeline network. These trained counselors listen to the caller, work to understand what the caller is experiencing, provide support, collaborate with the caller on ways to feel better, and connect with any needed help or resources.
Streamline and SmartCare™
Since 2003, Streamline Healthcare Solutions has focused exclusively on Behavioral Health and Human Services. We understand people choose this work out of a deep desire to help others. We partner with our customers to provide innovative technology solutions that help them advance the lives of those they serve.
Streamline’s SmartCare™ is a true enterprise Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform that sets a new standard for Behavioral Health EHRs. Its dependability and stability provide organizations with the control they need to succeed in today’s complex environment, while its flexibility enables them to transform the way they provide care to meet the exciting promise of tomorrow.
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