This Mental Health Month, the Community Crisis Services, Inc. (CCSI) hosted a Call 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline campaign event. The event included the presence and participation of other impactful nonprofits and public servants in the Greater Washington area, including Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW), Sasha Bruce, Aisha Braveboy, Prince George's County States Attorney, Congressman Glenn Ivey, and Senator Malcolm Augustine.
Policymakers, community advocates, public servants, and concerned citizens, all affected by mental health crises in some shape or form, joined to support Call 988. Although most were gathered by the call of their professional missions or volunteered responsibilities, there was no shortage of people who took the podium that did not have a more personal story to tell.
Here are the facts:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people globally will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives.
Nearly 90% of our youth are young people of color and experience the traumatic impacts of racism and discrimination. People of color experience higher rates of mental health conditions and face additional barriers to accessing care.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 10-34 in the United States, and the tenth leading cause of death overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council data shows that youth experiencing homelessness are three times more likely to attempt suicide. 40% of homeless youth struggle with severe depression.
Here's one family who took the podium to share their experience and how Community Crisis Services, Inc. is supporting their continued journey with a son who experienced homelessness due to mental illness.
Why do we need a Call 988 campaign?
When 988 was proposed it was to be adopted as a new national three-digit emergency number for mental health crises, like the 911 emergency number for general emergencies. Three-digit numbers are much easier to remember and quicker to call. Now an operational number in the United States, 988 is now proposed to expand to other countries in North America.
What does Call 988 do exactly?
Calling 988 connects individuals experiencing a mental health crisis with trained professionals who can provide support, resources, and referrals to appropriate services in their local area.
The professionals who answer calls to 988 are trained in crisis intervention and equipped to provide immediate emotional support and guidance to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Depending on the situation, they may also provide referrals to local mental health services, including mobile crisis teams or hospital emergency departments.
It's important to note that 988 is not intended to replace existing mental health crisis services, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) or Crisis Text Line (text "HOME" to 741741). Instead, it is an additional resource that will make it easier for people to access help in a mental health emergency.
What can you do to help?
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs immediate assistance, please call 911 or 988.
Simply spread the word about 988. You may reach someone you did not know needed the support.