This note was translated into Spanish and edited for clarity from an English version.
Nevada joined the rest of the country on Saturday in adopting 988 as the reference number for people contemplating suicide — a change that experts say will make it easier for people to get help during a mental health crisis. And they acknowledge that it is equally important for physical health. ,
This number will replace the current 10-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 800-273-8255. During and after the transition, calls to 988 will be automatically routed to the original number.
“Changing this to a three-digit number at the 911 level shows the importance of paying attention,” said Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention coordinator Misty Von Allen.
The three-digit number also conjures up a level of distress when someone is contemplating suicide.
“For the most part, people don’t want to die,” Allen explained. “They’re overwhelmed, feeling like a burden. And sometimes when all that stress is going on, you can’t think of the person you turn to for help.”
A person who contacts a suicide prevention hotline will be directed to a mental health professional, who will discuss the situation and suggest that the caller seek out outdoor activities to calm down, such as playing a video game or going for a walk.
The operator will ensure that the person has access to any medications they are taking, and will also ask questions about any potentially lethal means they may have on hand.
“Eighty percent of those who call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is soon to be 988, can reduce stress just by listening,” Allen said. “In the rare event that a person is unable to reduce their stress, hotline workers … will connect them to mobile crisis services for a health care provider.”
The person will then receive a follow-up call from a hotline or community resource 24 to 72 hours after the initial call, to check if they still feel safe. The Western Nevada Warmline and Nevada Care Contact also offer an option for anyone who wants to receive multiple scheduled follow-up calls.
Dr. Sheldon Jacobs, a marriage and family counselor, as well as a board member of both Hope Means Nevada, an organization that works to reduce youth suicide, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, explained that the importance of privacy. promise can help someone hesitating to make that call.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and kills more people each year than car accidents. More people currently die from suicide and AIDS combined.
In 2005, Nevada had the third highest suicide death rate of the 50 states. Since then, the unit has worked to reduce the suicide rate by investing in programs such as the Nevada Resilience Project and Nevada Zero Suicide.
As of 2020, Nevada ranks 15th in the nation for suicide mortality. According to America’s Health Rankings, in 2021, the suicide rate was lower than the previous year, at about one case of death or self-harm per 100,000 population.
According to Allen, the low suicide rate in 2020 and 2021 may actually be due to the pandemic. As everyone experienced a stressful and transformative event, more people reached out to each other.
There are a few signs to watch for major changes in behavior. If someone is normally happy and suddenly becomes very sad or cynical, it is a bad sign.
Allen encourages people to sit down with anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or any type of mental health crisis when they contact the 24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline – even before transitioning to 988 – It had text messaging and online chat option in multiple languages.
Rachel Pelissier, executive director of Crisis Support Services, said calls to 988 would be directed to local mental health centers manned by crisis reduction professionals and volunteers, all of whom received 75 hours of intensive training before resuming work at the call center. will have to pass through.
The staff includes some bilingual operators to assist Spanish speakers by phone, text or chat. The hotline also employs translators in various languages.
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced in April that Nevada would receive $1 million in federal funding to support the hotline. Allen said Nevada’s 50 years of suicide prevention have prepared the state to implement the bill.
“If we continue to build caring communities to help people when they are struggling and connect them with services, I think that’s a really great way to do that,” Allen said. concluded.