I’ll be blunt here, I’ve never called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. But if it had been available from 1998 through 2002, when my PTSD symptoms increased and the Depression that it caused was at it’s worst, I may have been a regular caller. In reality, most of the staff would have known me by my first name. The lifeline launched in 2005, and in the past ten years, volunteers have answered more than 6 million calls from desperate and frightened people with mental health issues in need of someone to listen.
The lifeline is one of the most visible services offered by SAMHSA. Calls are answered at more than 160 different call centers around the United States. SAMHSA also reaches out to prevent suicide with additional programs, including education efforts in the workplace and in schools. Other organizations offer a variety of suicide prevention resources, but so much more is needed.
I wish that my friend was one of those who called. He took his own life last year after battling a deep Depression that he felt unable to share with those closest to him. His suicide was not in the news like Robin Williams’ was, but it hurt those who loved him deeply.
“This year marks the 10th anniversary of SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline has answered more than 6 million calls since it began, and has established a network of over 160 crisis centers from across the country that answer calls to 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline provides a way for people who are in crisis to access help anytime of the day or night—no call goes unanswered.”
Every 13 minutes, someone in the United States takes their own life.
If you need help, please reach out.