Dial 9-8-8 to reach national suicide prevention lifeline starting mid-July – NBC Connecticut

Not intended for replacing the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), “9-8-8” is an additional resource for people in emotional or suicidal crisis.

“I never really knew anything about suicide, it just wasn’t in my vocabulary,” said Connecticut 988 Coalition member Ann Irr Dagle.

Dagle found this job in 2014, three years after losing his son, Brian, to suicide.

“Our world came to a standstill. It was like a tsunami that kicked in and exploded not just in our life. You know, I realized it was so many other lives that mattered with it,” Dagle said.

After doing his own research into the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide, Dagle established the Brian Dagle Foundation and worked with the state to launch a three-digit speed dial that connects callers with medical professionals. mental.

“I hope to recognize the importance of mental health,” Dagle said. “I also think it’s an important number to help break the stigma around mental health. It will have its own number. So when you call 9-1-1, there’s no professional sanity to help you. You’ll get the gendarmerie.”

9-8-8 is the short number people can call to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. This number becomes active in the state on July 16.

Dagle said while suicide rates have fallen nationwide, the number of people experiencing feelings of isolation, depression and suicidal ideation has increased – and more are seeking help.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us and on top of that there’s plenty to be stressed about in the world right now. And as we feel stressed, we need to be able to talk about it,” Martin Smith said. , clinical director of outpatient psychiatric services at Bridge Family Services.

Smith has spent more than two decades working with people struggling with mental health issues. Since the pandemic, he has seen an increase in the number of children under 10 having suicidal thoughts.

But he says this three-digit number, shortened from the current 10-digit number, is an extremely useful tool.

Patrick J. Dunn, executive director of New Haven’s Pride Center, said that’s especially true for LGBTQ+ youth.

“LGBTQ youth make up a disproportionate percentage of young people who will either attempt suicide or think about attempting suicide,” Dunn said.

A suicide survivor, Dunn said this population often feels isolated.

“Let it be his national hate rhetoric; there are currently 182 bills in the United States targeting LGBTQ youth, especially trans youth,” Dunn said. “Whether it’s bullying from school administrators, peers in the classroom, their parents, their families and also just the general feeling of disconnection from the community, which I think everyone can relate to during the last two years of the pandemic.

A February poll by the Trevor Project shows nearly 70% of people were unaware of 9-8-8, despite an increased call for help across the country.

“When I lost my son, I didn’t know the warning signs. I didn’t know it was the second leading cause of death among young men. I didn’t know that over 47,000 people die every year by suicide, so it just shocked me,” Dagle said. “It was important that I educate myself and others about it as well.”

According to the state’s suicide prevention plan, Connecticut is working to reduce the suicide death rate by 20 percent by 2025.

The shortcut number, 9-8-8, will launch on July 16. People can and will continue to have access to the current lifeline (1-800-273-8255). 2-1-1 is another resource for crisis services in Connecticut.