The National Suicide Prevention Hotline will change numbers

This week, a new three-digit number will be launched for those wishing to join the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The current hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255), but starting Saturday, those in need of help can dial or text 988.

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act was introduced by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and signed into law in 2020.

According to a press release, Heba Abdelaal, the 2022 Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year, worked on the legislation alongside Garner.

The law required the Federal Communications Commission to designate 988 as the universal telephone number for a national hotline for suicide prevention and mental health crises.

Previously:Veteran Suicide Task Force

From USA TODAY:Policemen, firefighters commit suicide more often than in service. Why Rates Remain High

By law, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs “shall jointly report on how to make the use of 9-8-8 operational and effective throughout the country.”

The law required the Federal Communications Commission to designate 988 as the universal telephone number for a national hotline for suicide prevention and mental health crises.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is committing $105 million to support local state crisis call centers, according to a Department of Health and Human Services press release in December,

“Giving states a tool to prevent suicide and support those in crisis is critical to our HHS mission to protect the health and well-being of everyone in our country,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. the press release. “We know that remembering a three-digit number beats a ten-digit number any day, especially in times of crisis, and I encourage every state to expedite planning for the implementation of 988 to save lives.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services officials announced in April that the state had received $3.3 million to help bring the existing 10-figure suicide prevention lifeline to number Three digit 988.

State officials said the grant will be used to staff the call center with qualified counselors.

According to a state agency press release last year, more than 1,300 people died by suicide in North Carolina in 2019, and more than 37,000 callers received crisis intervention and were connected to community mental health resources through the North Carolina National Suicide Call Center. Lifeline of prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named suicide as one of the leading causes of death in the United States in 2020, with 45,979 reported suicide deaths.

A report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs last year found that 6,261 veterans were among the 45,861 suicide deaths in the United States in 2019.

The VA estimated that in 2019, there were an average of 17 veteran suicide deaths per day.

Ashley Owings, Fort Bragg Wife of the Year, said in an interview earlier this year that raising suicide awareness is one of her platforms.

Related:What Fort Bragg Soldiers Say About Suicide

Read more:Fort Bragg Military Spouse of the Year champions the mental health of military families

Owings, who served in the Army National Guard and Navy, said she saw a need for suicide prevention programs that Navy leaders told her were not needed.

“Unfortunately, we lost another service member before he changed his mind and allowed us to have the program,” she said.

Owings said once she left the military, she realized suicide prevention was just as important for spouses and children of service members who also struggle with suicidal thoughts, depression, postpartum depression or other mental health problems.

Owings said she would like to see more people open up and have honest, non-judgmental conversations.

Writer Rachael Riley can be reached at rriley@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3528.