988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can help you in times of turmoil
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Arizona, like much of America, is dealing with a mental health crisis.
Recent years have seen a surge in the need for support with issues ranging from addiction to suicidal ideation. And while stigmas around mental health have started to subside, hesitancies to seek out help remain, mental health officials contend.
Nationally, suicide rates have steadily increased year-over-year, and a closer look at the data shows LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and Veteran communities are experiencing a dramatic increase in suicide deaths.
As Arizona’s primary 988 Crisis & Suicide Lifeline provider, Solari Crisis and Human Services is dedicated to elevating awareness of critical resources like the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline where help is just a three-digit call, text, or chat away, officials there say.
Nearly half a million lives — which equates exactly to 480,622 — were lost to suicide between 2010 to 2020 in the United States and an additional 47,646 lives were lost in 2021, reflecting a recent rise in suicide rates.
Launched nationwide in July 2022, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline allows people to dial, text, or chat 988 to receive private mental health help just like they would dial 911 for physical emergencies. The helpline is free, confidential, and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with professionally trained Crisis Intervention Specialists in Arizona.
Since launch, Solari has received an average of more than 4,700 calls to 988 per month with an average speed of answer of less than 10 seconds, officials report.
“988 was created to make it easier for those in crisis to reach out. Anyone in need of mental health support, whether they’re in crisis themselves or calling for a loved one, can get connected to resources by dialing, texting, or chatting the lifeline,” said Justin Chase, president/CEO of Solari. “Talking about mental health can be difficult but we want the community to know that we are here to provide instant, confidential and comforting support and resources, no matter what you may be going through.”
Eighty five percent of the time, crisis call specialists are able to stabilize the situation over the phone. If the situation cannot be stabilized, Solari can dispatch a mobile crisis team to meet with the caller face to face.
“Mobile crisis teams consist of mental health professionals and/or peer recovery support specialists. When an in-person response is required, they show up in unmarked vehicles to maintain a discreet profile,” Mr. Chase explained.