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Can the easy-to-remember suicide hotline 988 prevent more suicides?


  • Total voters
    61
D

Depressed Cat

Experienced
Jan 4, 2022
240
What do you folks (especially Americans) think of the 988 suicide hotline that will go live in the USA?

Will a single easy to remember (like 911) suicide hotline prove to be more effective in preventing suicides?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 800-273-8255, will remain in effect alongside 988. More than 2.1 million callers dialed 800-273-8255 in 2020. A number as easy to remember as 911 is expected to mean more calls, so implementing 988 requires expanding call center capacity, boosting crisis response and spreading the word about the number.


States have known 988, scheduled to go live on July 16, was coming and that they would be responsible for making it work since the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act was signed into law by then President Donald Trump in late 2020. But 988 implementation laws that include fee measures to pay for the expected increase in calls have been passed by only four states - Virginia, Nevada, Washington and Colorado, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI).


A member received a text message about the new number way back in March, 2021:


Apparently, a song that popularised the existing number might have prevented hundreds of suicides, according to a study:


The song:




Will the triple digit number 988 with increased staff and possibly better response be more effective?
 
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Wrennie

Wrennie

Latent Corpse 💀
Dec 18, 2019
1,339
I think it’s less the ability to easily remember the number and more the competency of the operator that you get paired with. Are they just going to spout meaningless & reused platitudes at you that you’ve already heard hundreds of times already, or are they actually going to provide you with genuine compassion and constructive advice/support as to how to remedy your situation? Realistically, some situations can’t be remedied. It really depends on the unique circumstances of the individual calling as well.


Also - WILL ANYBODY ACTUALLY ANSWER? Out of the two times I’d called the regular hotline in the past, nobody did. But maybe that’s just because it was me, lol :ahhha:
 
demuic

demuic

Life was a mistake
Sep 12, 2020
1,201
They are putting money into this rather than into any efforts to actually improve the quality of people's lives that lead to being suicidal in the first place. I see no mention anywhere of changing the way the hotlines fundamentally work or improving their quality. All they do is call the police on you, throw you into a mental institution (and charge you out the ass for it if you don't have insurance), or tell you to mediate or something. You can do an online search to receive the exact same tremendous help they have to offer you. And that's if they answered you at all, and based on the information in that article, I'm sure that will continue to be a problem.

Maybe if they did something like connect people to resources specific to their situation, like free shelter or housing if they are experiencing something like domestic abuse or homelessness, or free access to quality therapy (therapy being constantly pushed by suicide preventionists yet almost nothing is done to make it more accessible or affordable), connecting people to some kind of IRL community or social group or voluneteer work or a way to connect with people (loneliness being a huge problem today), helping people find employment or free or affordable educational opportunites, literally anything of that nature -- and without the threat of involuntary hospitalization or police interaction danging over your head.

As it stands, there are mostly a way for a lot of people to act like they're helping people while doing a whole lot of nothing.

Are they just going to spout meaningless & reused platitudes at you that you’ve already heard hundreds of times already, or are they actually going to provide you with genuine compassion and constructive advice/support as to how to remedy your situation? Realistically, some situations can’t be remedied. It really depends on the unique circumstances of the individual calling as well.
100% agree.
 
Noctis

Noctis

I wish I'd done it years ago
Dec 15, 2021
221
I think it’s less the ability to easily remember the number and more the competency of the operator that you get paired with. Are they just going to spout meaningless & reused platitudes at you that you’ve already heard hundreds of times already, or are they actually going to provide you with genuine compassion and constructive advice/support as to how to remedy your situation? Realistically, some situations can’t be remedied. It really depends on the unique circumstances of the individual calling as well.


Also - WILL ANYBODY ACTUALLY ANSWER? Out of the two times I’d called the regular hotline in the past, nobody did. But maybe that’s just because it was me, lol :ahhha:
My thoughts exactly. I called the suicide hotline once. I didn't remember the number, but it took me like ten seconds to find it with Google. I talked to the guy on the line for about fifteen minutes, and then immediately made an attempt.

This extra ten seconds they're saving people won't make the slightest difference if the people on the other line are still untrained volunteers who are shackled by rules and only allowed to read practiced lines off a script.

I'm not trying to bash the people who do that work; I get that they're sacrificing a lot in order to try to make a difference in someone's life. I'm absolutely bashing the system in place that the lawmakers have created which insists hearing a voice (which is not allowed to share any personal information about themselves, including their first name) just repeating the same tired lines will make the slightest difference.

When you're that desperate for any tiny bit of help to convince yourself that you shouldn't kill yourself, repeatedly hearing "I'm sorry sir, tell me more about that" and "Think about the good things in your life" was so fucking frustrating, it made me want to kill myself even more out of spite.
 
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Onthe29th

Onthe29th

Student
Dec 28, 2021
170
i read somewhere that they also want to create specialized teams for psychiatric issues. They realized that cops aren’t the best for those types of situations and “suicide by cop” is a thing

I’ll take a psych EMT over a cop any day. It’ll be a dangerous job but working with psych patients can be dangerous in general.

I think they also need to retrain psych healthcare staff or hire new people to get rid of the ones stuck in their ways but that probably won’t happen because facilities are always understaffed because no one wants to work as nurses understandably. They need to improve the reputation of psych institutions so that people are actually willing to look for help.

I also think there are certain special services these facilities should be able to provide to people depending on their reasons. For example, if the reasons is homelessness or job/finance related, they should be able to refer their patients to someone who can help them find a job or shelter based on a sliding scale. I’ve seen some facilities do sliding scale rent but only for people 50 and up.

Also does someone follow up with them once they leave these facilities? They can also be assigned a case manager who will follow them and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to and that they continue to be referred to services that help. I think I’m order to do this, some level of trust needs to be built between the patient and the staff as well.

Laws requiring confidentiality by all means regardless of what the person may say might be important or risk high penalties/lawsuit might be required to make people of all ages feel safe. It would also make the jobs of healthcare staff easier to do if people werent afraid to admit what drugs they may have done. I don’t know how these facilities work and some of this stuff may already be implemented, if so I apologize.

I think it’s a step in the right direction but they have to do a lot more then that I think.
 
willitpass

willitpass

Specialist
Mar 10, 2020
390
remembering the suicide hotline is not the issue. all you have to do is google the word suicide and it’s the first thing that pops up. the issue is that the suicide hotline is not helpful. i have called and texted suicide hotlines and they have done nothing for me. they told me to eat a brownie, go on a walk (at 12am), paint, nothing special or remotely helpful. they have the same scripted responses to everything: “i’m sorry you feel that way” “i’m glad you felt comfortable telling me about this” etc. they have good intentions i’m sure but when you’re in a crisis it feels like you’re talking to a robot. and the text lines take about 20 minutes to get linked with a person and when you are finally linked their responses take about 5 minutes. idk it just doesn’t help. it feels like the equivalent of telling someone with cancer to try essential oils
 
erdbeeren

erdbeeren

Member
Oct 13, 2021
72
What do you folks (especially Americans) think of the 988 suicide hotline that will go live in the USA?

Will a single easy to remember (like 911) suicide hotline prove to be more effective in preventing suicides?




A member received a text message about the new number way back in March, 2021:


Apparently, a song that popularised the existing number might have prevented hundreds of suicides, according to a study:


The song:




Will the triple digit number 988 with increased staff and possibly better response be more effective?

My sincere apologies if this is an inaccurate assumption, but does anyone else get pro-life vibes from this post?
 
ThriveOrDie

ThriveOrDie

We are already in hell
Jul 11, 2019
362
I had to wait on hold when I called. And the guy who answered was very kind but he didn't let me talk much. He went off on a tangent and made a lot of assumptions about my life…nothing offensive but just off base rather than let me share what was going on. It was weird and not super helpful
 
Feeding Pigeons

Feeding Pigeons

Arcanist
Aug 5, 2021
428
Will the suicide hotline 988 (set to go live) prove to be more effective?
pepe coffee disgusted.png
Yeah let me hold my breath.
Apparently, a song that popularised the existing number might have prevented hundreds of suicides, according to a study:
According to a study eating more fiber leads to less towel racks getting ripped out of the wall.
 
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I

InezSerrano

Student
Dec 3, 2021
150
I think it’s less the ability to easily remember the number and more the competency of the operator that you get paired with. Are they just going to spout meaningless & reused platitudes at you that you’ve already heard hundreds of times already, or are they actually going to provide you with genuine compassion and constructive advice/support as to how to remedy your situation? Realistically, some situations can’t be remedied. It really depends on the unique circumstances of the individual calling as well.


Also - WILL ANYBODY ACTUALLY ANSWER? Out of the two times I’d called the regular hotline in the past, nobody did. But maybe that’s just because it was me, lol :ahhha:
Does anyone have data on this? I can't find any :/ (The percent they answer)
I never call because I'm too scared and don't want to waste their time as I feel I don't deserve it.
 
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little helpers

little helpers

did I tie the tourniquet on my arm or on my neck?
Dec 14, 2021
522
My sincere apologies if this is an inaccurate assumption, but does anyone else get pro-life vibes from this post?

not really. basically the conversation around suicide hotlines has been had time and again. IMO it’s just general discussion on suicide politics. I understand your mistrust. though I’ve read quite a bit of OP’s posts and wouldn’t think this way.

back to the topic. no - don’t think it’ll be helpful, if not stigmatizing suicide and the suicidal even more. the entire attempt is about medicalizing. to me it’s just another 911. suicidality gets treated as a medical emergency, instead of (what many others has said) a social crisis. how people simply *can’t* live.
 
LastFlowers

LastFlowers

the haru that can read
Apr 27, 2019
1,424
I'm not trying to bash the people who do that work; I get that they're sacrificing a lot in order to try to make a difference in someone's life.
You would think so but actually a lot of people who volunteer for the hotline are just college kids trying to snag some credit that makes them look better to employers on their LinkedIn/purveyors of their continued education..or for brownie points with the public.
I never trust anyone who advertises that they worked with a suicide hotline.
I’ve known one decent person who volunteered (I think as an older adult) and they admitted to me that there was a script (which I already knew) and that it was far from a bonafide safety net.

Reminds me of the episode from that show ‘Transparent’ where the main character was volunteering and literally chases down a girl who called the hotline (and I think ripped up the script? Lol) to try to help her, after becoming so frustrated with the stipulations and robotic guidelines.
I think it backfired anyway, but it’s true to life in the sense that the volunteers who actually give a damn don’t last, because they cannot stand the lack of authenticity and absence of true human connection.

All in all, they rarely-if ever-make a difference in someone’s life, at best they make a difference in the moment..and then that moment fades away.
 
Feeding Pigeons

Feeding Pigeons

Arcanist
Aug 5, 2021
428
I think it backfired anyway, but it’s true to life in the sense that the volunteers who actually give a damn don’t last, because they cannot stand the lack of authenticity and absence of true human connection.
I think its worth saying that even if they didn't have to keep to a script etc, it would be exhausting being authentic and actually trying to help each person. A person can only be so selfless and sympathetic. Thats why the whole concept of the hotline is just a cop out. Thats a job thats supposed to be divided amongst family first, then friends, then the rest of the village.
 
LastFlowers

LastFlowers

the haru that can read
Apr 27, 2019
1,424
remembering the suicide hotline is not the issue. all you have to do is google the word suicide and it’s the first thing that pops up. the issue is that the suicide hotline is not helpful. i have called and texted suicide hotlines and they have done nothing for me. they told me to eat a brownie, go on a walk (at 12am), paint, nothing special or remotely helpful. they have the same scripted responses to everything: “i’m sorry you feel that way” “i’m glad you felt comfortable telling me about this” etc. they have good intentions i’m sure but when you’re in a crisis it feels like you’re talking to a robot. and the text lines take about 20 minutes to get linked with a person and when you are finally linked their responses take about 5 minutes. idk it just doesn’t help. it feels like the equivalent of telling someone with cancer to try essential oils
Yea. The number is very quick to show up in the most obnoxious of ways, for the faintest of reasons.

I once had the suicide hotline pop up from typing in a frivolous search as follows:
“Can I die from eating too many flamin’ hot cheetos?”
I think its worth saying that even if they didn't have to keep to a script etc, it would be exhausting being authentic and actually trying to help each person. A person can only be so selfless and sympathetic. Thats why the whole concept of the hotline is just a cop out. Thats a job thats supposed to be divided amongst family first, then friends, then the rest of the village.
Yes, that is true too. I think the example from that tv series actually made a point for that as well, as even going that extra mile for a singular person left the main character in such a state..I’m pretty sure they were fucking done after that.

I agree with your last sentence. I also think that those who don’t have many issues of their own should be the first to pick up the slack, then again, they’re not always as empathetic because they don’t have a wide enough concept of suffering to open their eyes.
Then you’ve got those who do know all about it and would probably be a great listening ear, but they have their own problems killing them and don’t have much capacity for anyone else’s, not for long.
 
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eryu

eryu

Member
Sep 25, 2021
59
https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/11/suicide-hotlines-trace-your-call/

if 988 is implemented as currently planned, insiders say, every independent crisis call center in America could soon feel pressured to join the NSPL and trace calls.
While the NSPL today includes 170 centers, Ross estimates there are 600 other hotlines serving communities around America, many of which don't trace calls. Yet when the federal hotline legislation is implemented, all 988 calls—and the associated state tax funding built into the legislation—are slated to go solely to NSPL centers.
during federal 988 hearings, forcible interventions on callers were promoted as "life-saving," while Vibrant/NSPL, SAMHSA, and AAS apparently never told legislators about the scientific unreliability of risk assessments, large numbers of callers whose lives have been upended after their calls were traced, or how hospitalizations and treatments may be making people more suicidal rather than less so.
"The more people are aware of 988, the less likely they are to call non-Lifeline centers," says White. "And if 988 comes with funding, I think these small nonprofit centers are going to take a hard look at that."
snippets from the stories of some of the lucky winners:
One day last year S. called during lunch—he says he wasn't actively suicidal but was just "feeling pretty down."
-
S. was stunned—he'd used his personal cell phone, and hadn't shared his name, location, or type of work. He had no idea the Lifeline could trace calls. "It was really embarrassing and traumatizing," says S. "All my coworkers and my lead and supervisor, they saw me get taken away." Police are especially intimidating to him, he says, because growing up in New York he was frequently subjected to random stop-and-frisks, and as a 6-foot-3 black man, he imagines he can look dangerous.
guy was fired from his job later. just a coincidence, I'm sure.
H. was strapped to a stretcher. At the hospital, she was forced to strip completely with several people watching. She was put in a small room with nothing but a bed, and left for twelve hours with no explanation what was happening.

"I was terrified," she says. A social worker came by for about five minutes. "He diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. I don't know where he got that from. And he was trying to make it sound like I told them I had tried to overdose prior to calling the hotline. And I was saying, 'No, that's not what I said at all.' And he told me that now I was lying."
-
Two weeks later, H. was discharged—with a hospital bill for $50,000. "It was more than my student loans!" says H. She negotiated it down to $20,000 and a ten-year payment plan.
 
GentleSoul

GentleSoul

Here, but not 'there'...
Dec 14, 2021
437
I hope it's helpful but quite frankly it sounds like a huge stopgap measure to me.

@eryu shocking but not really a surprise at all, sadly
 
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demuic

demuic

Life was a mistake
Sep 12, 2020
1,201
https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/11/suicide-hotlines-trace-your-call/





snippets from the stories of some of the lucky winners:

guy was fired from his job later. just a coincidence, I'm sure.
It's so common that things like this happen. And it will happen more and more. All because someone decided to do what everyone always says to do and "reach out for help."

At this point all this mindless advertising for calling a suicide hotline isn't just useless, it's actively dangerous.
 
I

InezSerrano

Student
Dec 3, 2021
150
https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/11/suicide-hotlines-trace-your-call/





snippets from the stories of some of the lucky winners:

guy was fired from his job later. just a coincidence, I'm sure.
fuck
It's so common that things like this happen. And it will happen more and more. All because someone decided to do what everyone always says to do and "reach out for help."

At this point all this mindless advertising for calling a suicide hotline isn't just useless, it's actively dangerous.
are there any "good" hotlines?

The only one I can find that is committed to not contacting emergency services is for trans and non binary people https://translifeline.org/

This one also says they won't contact police, but it's like for non-white people and lgbt, at least that's the focus. https://www.callblackline.com/

This is so dumb. This one you can at least say you won't do it in the next 24 hours and you're safe, but even that requirement is cringe imo. https://www.sfsuicide.org/
 
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