Mental health officials praise push for 9-8-8

On Friday, Centerstone applauded the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, that would making dialing 9-8-8 a direct call to a suicide prevention center. {Graphic Provided}

Suicide shatters lives and leaves those left behind feeling confused and helpless. Congress recently moved to make getting families help before it’s too late.

Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. The act would create a national suicide mental health hotline. Similar to the way 9-1-1 connects citizens with first responders, 9-8-8 would immediately connect an individual seeking mental health assistance to one of 163 Suicide Crisis Centers across the U.S. That individual (or their family members) could get 24/7, confidential support.

The National Suicide Holtline already exists at 800-273-TALK, but lawmakers believe a universal, easy-to-remember, three-digit number could be a lifesaving resource.

It’s a move with which that local mental health provider, Centerstone, agrees.

“Centerstone applauds the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, designating 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,” the group said on social media. “This puts this important piece of legislation one step closer to becoming the law of the land and comes at a critical time when many people across the country are feeling the mental health impact of COVID-19.”

In fact, suicide exists as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC. On average, there are 129 suicides each day in the U.S. You need look no further than recent local headlines to know that number is on the rise. Multiple Moore County families have been shattered by suicides in just the past six months.

“This is the true pandemic that is all over and we see it more and more everyday,” say Metro EMA Director Jason Deal. “This is one disease that does not have a black and white treatment to it like with heart problems or other emergencies that we respond to. There is no one treatment that fits everyone.”

If you’d like to read the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, click here.

The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representative for final approval. Scott DesJarlais represents Moore County. You can voice your approval for the bill by calling 202-225-6831 or you can contact his Winchester office at 931-962-3180. Constituents can also contact him through his website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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